Chapter

The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul

Thomas Kjeller Johansen

in The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658435
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742231 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658435.003.0006
The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul

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Aristotle says in DA II.4 that the objects are prior in account not only to the capacities of the soul but also to their activities. As the case of nutrition shows, this claim is best understood if the object is taken as the formal cause of the activities and the capacities, rather than simply as their efficient cause. Understanding the object of nutrition as the formal cause also helps explain the unity of the nutritive soul, as responsible for both nutrition proper, generation, and growth, in that these three activities, despite their differences, all make essential reference to the same form, that of the living being in question. Further problems to the object criterion presented by touch, taste, and smell can be overcome by attending to Aristotle's detailed characterizations of their objects.

Keywords: nutrition; proper object; priority in account; final cause; formal cause; efficient cause

Chapter.  13384 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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