Aristotle's De Animagreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
Did Aristotle disagree with his contemporaries concerning the soul? It seems this way in chapter 2 of book 1, but then I questioned whether he disagreed with what they were saying or whether is was how they came about explaining what they were saying. Did he feel that they were right but for the wrong reasons? Or did he totally disagree with what they said? Or...did he partially agree with what they were saying, but just didn't agree with the emphasis they placed on their ideas?
For example, when he writes about "those who define the soul as that which moves itself." Did he completely disagree with this statement, or did he disagree with how this statement was reasoned?
Just a little confused on this. I haven't read all of Book 2 yet, but I am also wondering if maybe reading it might clear up my understanding a bit.
-- Leah Kraynik (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 07, 2004
Well, first you're going to have to read the whole thing. There are also a couple of collection of excellent recent philosophical commentary on it: Micahel Durrant's _Aristotle's De Anima in Focus_, and Nussbaum & Rorty's _Essays on Aristotle's De Anima_. For more of a "primer" you might have a look at my (with Phil Groff) recent book _Early Psychological Thought_ and at my article on the topic (at http://www.yorku.ca/christo/papers/Aristotle-functionalist.htm).
Book I is really little more than a catalogue of previous theories of the psyche and Aristotle's criticisms of them. His own position appears mainly in Books II and III (also, don't get confused by the common but problematic translation of the Greek term "psyche" as "soul" -- the Greek "psyche" was, in some ways, a quite different sort of thing). Aristotle's position was quite original for its time, attempting to get away from (1) the material theories that had dominated presocratic times and (2) the "mystical" immaterial and numerological theories of the Pythagoreans and of Plato's succssors at the Academy (particularly Xenocrates).
-- Christopher Green (email@example.com), April 08, 2004.
Hi Leah, It seems to me that Aristotle first investigated what all other were saying about the soul and then compared and contrasted their theories (book 1). He then took as most likely true, the things that they all agreed upon and further questioned the things they disagreed on. And from the things his predecessors agreed upon he used as his platform to further develop his own theory (books 2 and 3). Thanks, Eric
-- Eric Paget (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 12, 2004.