The Powers of Aristotle's Soul
Aristotle is considered by many to be the founder of 'faculty psychology'—the attempt to explain a variety of psychological phenomena by reference to a few inborn capacities. In The Powers of Aristotle's Soul, Thomas Kjeller Johansen investigates his main work on psychology, the De Anima, from this perspective. He shows how Aristotle conceives of the soul's capacities and how he uses them to account for the souls of living beings. Johansen offers an original account of how Aristotle defines the capacities in relation to their activities and proper objects, and considers the relationship of the body to the definition of the soul's capacities. Against the background of Aristotle's theory of science, Johansen argues that the capacities of the soul serve as causal principles in the explanation of the various life forms. He develops detailed readings of Aristotle's treatment of nutrition, perception, and intellect, which show the soul's various roles as formal, final and efficient causes, and argues that the so-called 'agent' intellect falls outside the scope of Aristotle's natural scientific approach to the soul. Other psychological activities, various kinds of perception (including 'perceiving that we perceive'), memory, imagination, are accounted for in their explanatory dependency on the basic capacities. The ability to move spatially is similarly explained as derivative from the perceptual or intellectual capacities. Johansen claims that these capacities together with the nutritive may be understood as 'parts' of the soul, as they are basic to the definition and explanation of the various kinds of soul. Finally, he considers how the account of the capacities in the De Anima is adopted and adapted in Aristotle's biological and minor psychological works.
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De Anima 11 and 21
3 Parts and Unity in the Definition of the Soul
4 The Definition of Dunamis
5 The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul
6 The Importance of Nutrition
7 The Soul as an Efficient Cause
8 The Matter of the Souls Activities
9 The Perceptual Capacity Extended
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accidental perception actual affections agent intellect animals argument Aristotle says attributes causal chapter claim clear colour common to body contrast Corcilius DA II.4 define the soul definition of soul desire different kinds differentiate distance senses distinction dunamis efficient cause energeia ensouled entelekheia essence example explain explanatory faculty faculty psychology final cause final nutriment flavour formal cause fulfilment function human implied insofar intelligible involve kinds of living kinds of soul locomotion logos matter Metaph move natural natural philosopher noein notion nourished nutritive capacity nutritive soul ôBò ŒÆd ôHí ôïF one’s ôØ ousia passive passive intellect perceive perceptual capacity perceptual soul phantasia Phys Plato potentiality principle of change priority proper object psychology reason reference relation relationship role seems Sens sense-faculty sense-objects sense-organs sensible sensory separable sight smell sort soul’s specific substance suggests teleological thing thinking Timaeus understand virtue vision