By Victor Caston
Around two hundred advert, the best defender and interpreter of Aristotle inside of his college, Alexander of Aphrodisias, composed his personal e-book On the Soul, in part following the trend of Aristotle's.
In the 1st part, translated during this quantity, he discusses the soul because the kind of the physique, and the assumption of components or powers that represent the soul of dwelling issues, together with the 2 lowest powers: meals and belief. within the moment part, translated partly II, he discusses belief, illustration, wish, figuring out and - a thought emphasized by way of the Stoics - the governing a part of the soul. he is taking the soul to encompass those powers, which supervene at the mix of the body's elemental materials, simply as inanimate powers like buoyancy or lightness can supervene on different traits. they're new, emergent causal powers of the residing factor, which don't belong to the constituent elements of the physique in themselves.
Through his suggestion of emergence, he seeks to guide among the Platonic dualism of soul and physique and the extraordinary materialism of his Stoic rivals.
This quantity comprises the 1st English translation of the paintings, in addition to a close creation, broad explanatory notes and a bibliography.
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Extra info for Alexander of Aphrodisias: On the Soul: Part I: Soul as Form of the Body, Parts of the Soul, Nourishment, and Perception
For if something which is full of itself is to receive something else, which again is likewise full of itself, then nothing will prevent it from receiving another yet again and still another: since it was no less full on its own than it is now having received something else into itself, it will not be prevented from receiving a second thing, and thus nothing will prevent the largest body from coming to be in the smallest. Yet how is it not absurd to say that a place that has been filled up by a certain body is able to receive another body while staying the same, since the body that filled it remains in it and has not changed place?
Commentary. In line with the principles of the series, my notes have two primary aims: (i) to make philosophical sense of the arguments in the main text and (ii) to provide the necessary background to understand them by supplying the references to Alexander’s predecessors and contemporaries – to Aristotle above all, but also various Stoics, Platonists and Peripatetics – and cross-references to Alexander’s own works. Unfortunately, I have had to limit myself severely with regard to the secondary literature: to have included them more fully would have swollen the size of the volumes unduly.
Each [of these] is a culmination too: both heaviness, since it is a form, and the activity that occurs in virtue of it, since the activities that issue from dispositions and powers are their culminations. 84 The same holds for compound bodies too. So if forms are not the activities issuing from powers, but the powers instead, which, because they exist prior to the activities issuing from them, are first and come before them, the first culmination of plants will also be a form and a soul. Now, once this has been agreed to and granted, I do not think anyone will dispute that an animal is likewise a natural, compound body, composed of soul and body.