Page images
PDF
EPUB

alike the central vivifying element in each: a 'soulless' man or 'soulless' melody are alike devoid of inner force and meaning. And therefore, though it is really impossible to stick consistently to one stereotyped equivalent-though according to the context we must modify the English term we select-it would seem desirable to employ 'soul' as the usual equivalent of Aristotle's ψυχή.

But the important question for us, Aristotle himself would probably have said, is not what is the abstract nature of this Yux, but what are the powers and faculties in which it manifests its action. And accordingly, from the consideration of soul in the abstract, he proceeds to investigate the different forms in which it presents itself before us. True to his general preference of concrete particulars to abstract universals, he has no sooner stated what mind is in general than he proceeds to exemplify and corroborate his theory by a statement of its various manifestations. The good definition, he declares, must not remain a bare assertion: it must prove its own validity and set forth the grounds on which it rests. Too often the terms of a definition are like unproved conclusions'. But the genuine definition will not merely exhibit the results at which it has arrived: it will also state the steps by which it has attained its end. And such a corroboration of the definition of the soul is found in enumerating the various aspects of life to each of which the description of an implicit perfection or entelechy may be applied.

V. THE PSYCHICAL FACULTIES.

These various developments of life, of which each, besides constituting the soul of its own stage of life, is also incorporated as a 'moment' in the soul of man, are briefly what Aristotle knows as faculties. For, it is of life, that soul

1 De An. 11. 2, 413816, νῦν δ' ὥσπερ συμπεράσμαθ' οἱ λόγοι τῶν ὅρων εἰσίν.

d

W. AR.

may be regarded as the foundation or the principle-the cause in which its several conditions may be viewed as concentrated. There will then be as many forms of soul as there are definite types of life-in other words, we may trace the vital phenomena as they display themselves in plants and animals, and whatever be the function or set of functions in which eacli object seems to realize its true nature, this function or combination of functions may be regarded as the soul or yvyn for that one stage of existence.

Psychology with Aristotle is thus closely related to biology: and the same conception of development (taken generally) as dominates his biology is prominent also in his psychology. The continuity (ovvéxeca) of terrestrial life was constantly present to his mind. Nature, he remarks in his treatise On the Parts of Animals, proceeds without interruption from inanimate to animate forms of existence through the intermediate stage of beings which are living but yet not animals', and the ambiguous character of sponges and such like objects attracted his special notice. Analogy, he found, ruled the relations of the parts of vegetable to the parts of animal nature: and among animals again he recognised a similarity between the different limbs and organs characteristic of the different species. Nor did he allow more than a difference of degree between animals and man. 'The great majority of animals,' he remarks in the eighth book of his History of Animals, 'present some traces of those mental characteristics which display themselves most prominently in the human being; and the soul' of children is but little different from that of lower animals. Man therefore stands on the same line as the rest of animal existence. He is the end and centre of creation : but he is so simply in so far as all forms of life lead gradually

1 De Partibus 4m. iv. 6S112, ἡ γὰρ φύσις μεταβαίνει συνεχῶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀψύχων εἰς τὰ ζῷα διὰ τῶν ζώντων μὲν οὐκ ὄντων δὲ ζῴων, οὕτως ὥστε δοκεῖν πάμπαν μικρὸν διαφέρειν θατέρου θάτερον τῷ σύνεγγυς ἀλλήλοις. Cp. Hist. in. 38854.

2 Hist. Animalium, Book vIII. I, SS418, ἔνεστι γὰρ ἐν τοῖς πλείστοις καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων ἴχνη τῶν περὶ τὴν ψυχὴν τρόπων, ἅπερ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἔχει φανερωτέρας τὰς διαφοράς.

up to man as the perfect development of what is contained implicitly and imperfectly in lower forms.

This biological conception of a progressive development of life on earth, stands, as has been said, in the closest relation with the Aristotelian psychology. There are, in fact, just as many forms of soul as there are clearly ascertained types of vitality: and the soul exhibits itself in a series of forms corresponding to the stages by which life passes from that of mere vegetable existence to the higher faculties of thought and will. Aristotle thus comes to recognise four different kinds (as we may say) of soul, each one of which represents a different stage of physical development. It is indeed only with the power of sense-perception that we reach the animal properly so called. But before this stage is reached, there is a simpler form of life, of which the full development may be described as soul. This is contained in the discharge of the normal functions of nutrition, growth and reproduction—the different processes in fact by which food is assimilated and mere existence is maintained. If it be senseperception which constitutes the animal, it is this nutritive function which constitutes the truth or real meaning of the vegetable or plant. And besides these processes which thus constitute the first entelechies of plants and animals, the psychologist requires to take account of other forms of soul which belong chiefly or exclusively to man. Aristotle accordingly recognises the following four stages in the development of soul. There is, first, soul as the perfect realization of the nutritive and vegetative life, secondly, soul as equivalent to the exercise of sense and its perceptive powers, thirdly, soul as expressive of desire and thus attended by the capacity of local movement, and lastly, soul as implying the action of the intellect and understanding-briefly the vegetative, the sensitive, the conative and the intellectual soul'.

These stages in the development of soul are not however

1 11. 2, 413512, ή ψυχὴ τούτοις ὥρισται, θρεπτικῷ, αἰσθητικῷ, διανοητικῷ, κινήσει. Cp. 11. 3, 41331.

spoken of so much as forms or kinds of soul as parts (uópia) or faculties (Suváμeis). And here at once a difficulty presents itself. What is the sense in which we can regard the soul as divided into parts'? How can we preserve its inner unity, if we allow it to be thus split up into different applications of its activity? Questions like these bring Aristotle face to face with all the problems with which a theory of mental faculties is surrounded. The division cannot, he thinks, stop with the enumeration of some three or four faculties: the very differences on which the ordinary divisions are founded make it necessary to recognise a much larger group of powers of mind. The Platonic division into reason, spirit and appetite must be supplemented by the faculties of growth, sensation and imagination. And there is a further difficulty which meets any attempt to divide the mind into different faculties. The unity of the mental action makes it utterly impossible to confine some processes within the limits of one single faculty. The conative or orectic energy of soul would have, to suit the popular psychology, to be spread over two or three different faculties: because, adds Aristotle, while volition, one of its elements, falls within the sphere of reason, its other factors—appetite and impulse-fall within the field of the irrational3.

Faculties to Aristotle are thus not different 'parts' into which soul is actually divided, but only different sides or aspects of mental action. In opposition to the Platonic psychology which had seemed to draw a fast line between the members of its division, Aristotle views the partition of the soul into faculties as merely a convenient application of abstraction. And thus his faculties are not separable in actual fact or actual locality: the partition is one which rests simply on a difference in their mode of work

1 11. 2, 41314, πότερον δὲ τούτων ἕκαστόν ἐστι ψυχὴ ἢ μόριον ψυχῆς καὶ εἰ μόριον πότερον οὕτως ὥστ ̓ εἶναι χωριστὸν λόγῳ μόνον ἢ καὶ τόπῳ. Cp. 111. 9, 43122. 123 III. 9, 43224.

3

III. 9, 432°7, εἰ δὲ τρία ἡ ψυχὴ, ἐν ἑκάστῳ ἔσται ὄρεξις : because, it is explained, ἐν τῷ λογιστικῷ ἡ βούλησις γίνεται. καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀλόγῳ ἡ ἐπιθυμία καὶ ὁ θυμός.

ing, on the point of view from which they are regarded (λóyw): it is in short a distinction not a division'. It is therefore only by an effort of abstraction that we can distinguish between different faculties of soul: just in fact as we can, according to the Nicomachean Ethics, distinguish between the convex and concave, or as, to use the additional illustration of the Eudemian Ethics, we can in the case of one and the same line distinguish between its straightness and its colour. We may separate in short between the sensitive and the conceptive powers of mind: but it is one and the same mind to which sensations are brought and by which concepts are formed: and the distinction, so far as it exists, is only a difference in the manner of the mind's activity in dealing with materials of knowledge.

The number of the mental faculties is accordingly a subject on which Aristotle is somewhat indifferent. Sometimes (II. 3. 1) the faculties are spoken of as five-the nutritive, sensitive, conative, locomotive and intellectual: at other times (II. 2. 7) four only are enumerated, because the conative and locomotive faculties are practically one: while, at other times, since the sensitive faculty is the basis of the conative, three only are enumerated and the Aristotelian scheme of psychic faculties reduces itself to the faculty of nutrition, the faculty of sense and the faculty of thought. Soul therefore is itself defined as the fundamental principle of life, of sense-perception and of thought: it is the unity in which they are all embraced. For

I rr. 2. 10, 413529, τῷ δὲ λόγῳ ὅτι ἕτερα φανερόν· αἰσθητικῷ γὰρ εἶναι καὶ δοξαστικῷ ἕτερον, εἴπερ καὶ τὸ αἰσθάνεσθαι τοῦ δοξάζειν.

* Eth. Nic. 1. 13, 1102428, ταῦτα δὲ πότερον διώρισται καθάπερ τὰ τοῦ σώματος μόρια καὶ πᾶν τὸ μεριστὸν ἢ τῷ λόγῳ δύο ἐστὶν, ἀχώριστα πεφυκότα καθάπερ ἐν τῇ περιφερείᾳ τὸ κυρτὸν καὶ τὸ κοῖλον.

Eth. Eud. II. 1, 1219b32, διαφέρει δ' οὐθὲν οὔτ ̓ εἰ μεριστὴ ἡ ψυχὴ οὔτ' εἰ ἀμερής, ἔχει μέντοι δυνάμεις διαφόρους ὥσπερ ἐν τῷ καμπύλῳ τὸ κοῖλον καὶ τὸ κυρτὸν ἀδιαχώριστον, καὶ τὸ εὐθὺ καὶ τὸ λευκόν· καίτοι τὸ εὐθὺ οὐ λευκέν.

3 III. 7, 431*13, οὐχ ἕτερον τὸ ὀρεκτικὸν καὶ φευκτικὸν οὔτ ̓ ἀλλήλων οὔτε τοῦ αἰσθη τικοῦ· ἀλλὰ τὸ εἶναι ἄλλο.

4 11. 2. 12, 41412, ἡ ψυχὴ δὲ τοῦτο ᾧ ζῶμεν καὶ αἰσθανόμεθα καὶ διανοούμεθα πρώτως.

« PreviousContinue »