The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Oct 18, 2012 - History - 302 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


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
10 Phantasia
11 The Intellect and the Limits of Naturalism
12 The Locomotive Capacity
The Capacities of the Soul Applied
14 The Capacities in the Parts and Lives of Animals
General Index
Index Locorum

8 The Matter of the Souls Activities
9 The Perceptual Capacity Extended

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Thomas Kjeller Johansen, Brasenose College, Oxford

Thomas Kjeller Johansen studied Philosophy and Classics at Cambridge, before taking up lectureships at Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford. He has held a British Academy Research Readership, a membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. He is the author of Plato's Natural Philosophy (CUP, 2004), Aristotle on the Sense-Organs (CUP, 1998), and the translator of Plato, Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics, 2008).