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The Soul


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The Soul translated by Joe Sachs

Book I

1 - Perhaps the first thing to ask is if something is a thing, a quality, or quantity; potential or being-at-work; divisible or not. 

Even when nothing is happening, feelings still arise. So the soul can't simply be a response to the external world.

2 - Many thinkers thought that like is known by like, so by this reasoning, if the soul knows everything, it is like everything.

3 – Plato thought that soul had intellect and moved in a circle. But this means the intellect thanks the same thing many times in a row. But all thinking is bounded, so this can't be.

Many people make the mistake of not asking how the body is affected by the soul, or which kind of bodies.

4 - The human acts by means of the soul in the sense that perception goes to the soul, while memory comes from the soul to motions. This is like the modern distinction of bottom-up processing from top-down processing. This is reason to think that Aristotle sees the human soul as all the psychological capacities of people.

5 – Is living in all the parts or some of them? It seems rather that the soul holds the body together. 

Book II

1 – Material is a potency while form makes the look of that material as a result of why it is called what it is. Soul is the form of a body with life as potency. 

If the eye were an animal, the soul of it would be sight. 

2 – Where there is perception there is pain and pleasure, and where there is pain and pleasure, there is desire. 

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4 – The nutritive soul is concerned with food and offspring. Having another like itself is the closest to the eternal. I'm not sure if this means that having offspring is required for the good life, or that having offspring is the end for the nutritive aspects of the soul, but not necessarily what the intellectual soul must seek. 

5 - The work of perceiving is produced by external things. There of course has to be something to be perceived in the first place.

6 - Motion, rest, number, shape, and size are common to all of the senses. 

7 - Something must be between the sense organ and the thing perceived because it is not the quality itself that moves the organ. This sounds like the quality of something must produce effects on something else external to the perceiver.

9 - Uncovered organs seem less accurate. Eyes are not covered in an ant, but they are in birds.

11 - The organ of touch is not itself skin. We know this because when we use a tool or cover our skin, the outside thing seems to work like touch. But Aristotle doesn't really say what the organ is. In modern terms, I would say that the organ is all the neurons under the skin.

Sense is in a way the mean of contrary attributes of perceived things. Anything too loud or too quiet cannot be sensed.

12 - Sense is receptive of the form of perceived things, like wax being receptive of shapes.

The senses are acted on by things, not because of what the things are, but the attributes the things have.

Book III

1 - There is no particular sense organ for common attributes because we just associate particular senses to the common attributes.

2 – Since we can distinguish different types of attributes, we must be able to distinguish the difference by something else.

3 – Opinion is affected by persuasion and speech, while imagination is not. Some animals have imagination but none have speech, so imagination is not opinion. 

4 - Intellect is not mixed with the body and has no organ and is potency of the soul. Intellect in this sense could be something immaterial and something externally independent like a cosmic entity, of which various things with souls make use of. But other times it sounds like it might be the power of anything that exists to be intelligible by virtue of its form, yet requires a particular entity with a soul to be actualized (while not being a consequence of a sensory or physiological process).

The intellect is receptive of intelligible things.

5 - Intellect is caused by becoming all things, and it is productive by forming things like the way light produces color. It becomes all things in terms of their intelligible aspects, in just the same way that the senses become what they sense in terms of the sensory aspects of the things sensed. The intellect brings about forms. I wonder if this is evidence that Aristotle thought that forms are just epistemological artifacts while the intellect is the intelligibility of things that makes an epistemological artifact possible in the first place.

8 - Intellect is the form of forms, the overarching form. 

The potency of knowing or perceiving are the same things that are known or perceived.

Intelligible things are present in perceptible forms.

10 - Intellect that reasons for the sake of something and is concerned with actions causes motions; desire is the starting point. 

11 - There is sensory imagination when trying to visualize something and deliberative imagination when making calculations. 

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