The Descent from Definition: The Capacities of the Soul Applied

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:
The Descent from Definition: The Capacities of the Soul Applied

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The chapter considers the relationship between the DA and the PN, and the Sens. in particular. Because the sense-objects are causally prior to acts of perception, Sens. can account for a variety of sensory activities by providing a fuller account of the sense-objects than those required to define the sense-faculties as such, the task of the DA. The composition of the sense-organs is also used to explain a range of features of perception (such as how we smell by breathing) which, again, do not enter into the definitions of the senses. Animals with the same senses may differ with respect to such non-defining attributes of perception. PN generally makes greater use of material explanation than the DA because the phenomena considered are not fully determined by the capacities of the soul as such.

Keywords: sense-objects; sense-organs; material explanation; comparative psychology

Chapter.  10285 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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