An Analysis Of Aristotle's Aristotle On The Soul

957 Words4 Pages
Prompt #4: Aristotle on the Soul In De Anima, Aristotle discusses the nature of all living things. His first definition of the soul, and essentially his thesis, is that the soul is the “the first actuality of a natural body that is potentially alive” (412a 27-28). However that is definition that requires a lot of expansion to really mean something. Like with most of Aristotle’s passages the terms he uses to define abstract ideas require a definition of their own. To better understand his thesis of the soul, we must first look at what he means by “first actuality” and how that relates to “second actuality.” According to Aristotle, there are three states of a rational being. The first is to have potentiality, which is the cornerstone to being…show more content…
Aristotle makes a point that describes the difference of matter and form. Matter is the material. It is potentiality and the body for the living thing. In some sense, matter is what something is and what it has the ability to do. Therefore matter is the body, that without the soul could not actually be alive. That is why Aristotle includes “potentially alive” in his definition. It had the potential to be animated once it has a soul. So when he writes, that the soul is“the first actuality of a natural body that is potentially alive” (412a 27-28) he is saying that the soul is the form of the body or that it is the actuality of the…show more content…
To understand what makes living matter, we can look at Aristotle’s account of the activity of the soul. The first activity, one that every living being requires, is nutrition. This includes the activities of nourishment like eating and drinking. Even plants need nutrition. Not all souls are rational but all living things have souls. The next is perception, which is the ability to use the senses to make choices and react with motion. However these choices are not made using rationality. The animal that has perception must also have nutrition. Lastly, there is understanding, which is the ability to think rationally and makes choices with logic or intellect. This potentiality is present in humans (who must first display nutrition and perception). These principles define living things because they are the potentialities of the soul. Artifacts, on the other hand do not exhibit these activities because they do not contain a soul. Artifacts are items created by craft, something that Aristotle claims is the condition of non-living things. Things created by craft do not occur naturally or organically and therefore do not have the principals of the

More about An Analysis Of Aristotle's Aristotle On The Soul

Open Document