Page images
PDF
EPUB

These criticisms on previous psychologists are evidently not entirely the self-satisfied work which Francis Bacon supposed all Aristotle's historical investigations to be. Aristotle is not merely seeking to demolish all existing theories before proceeding to develope his own views: or at any rate, he is not demolishing them merely for the demolition's sake. The historical standpoint, which is so characteristic of Aristotle in all his writings, has an entirely different significance. To Aristotle as to Coleridge, “the very fact that any doctrine had been believed by thoughtful men was part of the problem to be solved, was one of the phenomena to be accounted for.” And if we must allow that Aristotle shews little power of viewing a conception from the standpoint of its original advocates and tends in general to criticise a theory too much from the platform of his own formulæ and doctrines, we must none the less recognise the value of the light he throws upon preceding psychological speculation. He prepares us at the least for the results he himself will lay before us : he helps us to understand the significance of his own work by the statement of that to which it is opposed : he gives us a keener appreciation of the difficulties which we have to face and of the dangers which we

must avoid. Already we have learned from the mistakes y of previous thinkers that no abstract theory of mind will

satisfy the facts which call for explanation : that we must not limit our investigation of psychical phenomena to the single phase of their existence in man: that the bodily environment must not be treated as of no importance : and that the unity of the mental faculties must be beyond all things steadfastly maintained'. And Aristotle's own definition of the Soul is in great part only a restatement of these different propositions.

1 De Am. 1. 5, 41ο16, πάντες δε και οι διά το γνωρίζεις και αισθάνεσθαι τα όντα την ψυχήν εκ των στοιχείων λέγοντας αυτήν, και οι το κινητικώτατον, ου περί πάσης λέγουσι ψυχής. .

IV. ARISTOTLE'S DEFINITION OF SOUL.

Fully to understand the Aristotelian definition of the Soul requires a more than ordinary acquaintance with the technical phraseology of Aristotle's Metaphysics. To begin with, we may say that Aristotle regards the soul and body as two sides of an antithesis, in which the opposing members only exist in the true sense of the terms in their combination with each other. The writer begins his inquiry with the fact of the existence of natural living objects. There are natural as opposed to artificial things: and of such natural phenomena there are some which possess life, others which are lifeless. Life itself, he defines, as the process of nutrition, increase and decay from an internal principle?. Here then, in the living natural object,' we find a concrete reality which presents us with two sides or aspects—the one body, the other soul. But body itself is not soul : soul is rather an attribute or predicate of body: the form to which body acts as matter.

Soul is thus, from Aristotle's point of view, more or less dependent on the body: but it is only on the other hand in soul that body attains its true reality. Body is then not so much the physical basis of the soul as soul the cause or reason of the body. The physiological phenomena of the body find, in fact, their truth in soul, as their final outcome, but as at the same time their end and higher meaning. In Aristotle's own peculiar phraseology, soul is the substantial reality or essence (ovola) of the body.

Aristotle's Theory of Substance is well known to be full of apparent inconsistencies. While on the one hand the logical treatises regard substance as the individual object, the particular thing (TÓde Tc) —such and such a man, such and such a plant, the Metaphysics frequently identify real being with the universal or generic notion-man or plant conceived of in their general

1 ΙΙ. 1, 412814, ζωήν δε λέγομεν την δι' αυτού τροφήν τε και αύξησιν και φθίσιν,

character. To the tract 'on Categories,' 'first substances are definite forms of existence, 'secondary substances' the genera and species in which first substances are contained': to the writer of the Metaphysics, amid much that corresponds entirely with the teaching of the Organon, there is a tendency to regard 'first substances' as specific forms and constitutive notions".

These two accounts of substance are not however really so far apart as they are sometimes thought to be. Neither in his logical nor in his metaphysical writings does Aristotle ostensibly recede from his antagonism to the Platonic account of real being or true existence. To Plato, the real had been the general notion, the universal permanent element which was to be found in no one individual thing, but yet gave life and existence to them all—the idea (as it is commonly designated) which made each thing to be what it actually was. Against this theory of the “real,' Aristotle's philosophy is one continuous protest. To Aristotle the real being, the substantial truth, the essential nature of things-for by all these terms we may translate the Greek expression lies in the union of two elements, which may be separated by an effort of analysis, but which form complementary sides in every really existing thing. The members of this antithetic synthesis may be variously denominated. We may say that everything which really ‘is,' and to which qualities attach themselves, is the result of a coalition between an unformed original indeterminate matter (can) on the one hand,

1 Categ. c. 5, 28ΙΙ, ουσία δε έστιν ή κυριώτατά τε και πρώτος και μάλιστα λεγομένη, ή μήτε καθ' υποκειμένου τινός λέγεται μήτ' εν υποκειμένω τινί έστιν, οίον και τις άνθρωπος ή ο τις ίππος" δεύτεραι δε ουσίαι λέγονται εν οις είδεσιν αι πρώτως ουσίαι λεγόμεναι υπάρχουσι. So also Μetaphys. Z. 3, 102928, ουσία is explained as το μη καθ' ÚTokeluévov allà kal' oủ tà átla. Still more definitely it is said, Categories, 3610, πάσα δε ουσία δοκεί τόδε τι σημαίνειν: a result also expressed in the reasonings of Metaph. Ζ. 16, 104184, των καθόλου λεγομένων ούθεν ουσία. Cp. also Gen. An. IV. 2, 767634.

2 Metaph. Ζ. 7, 1032bi, είδος δε λέγω το τί ήν είναι εκάστου και την πρώτην ovolav. Z. II. IO37, h ouria vào Tu cồos {vov......and more clearly IO37b1, το τί ήν είναι έκαστον επί τινών μεν ταυτόν, ώσπερ επί των πρώτων ουσιών, οίον καμπυλότης και καμπυλότητι είναι, ει πρώτη εστίν. λέγω δε πρώτης ή μη λέγεται το άλλο εν άλλη είναι και υποκειμένω ώς ύλη. .

and a regulative creative form (eidos) on the other. Matter, as conceived by Aristotle, is thus the original substratum, the indefinite unformed starting-point which is as yet mere negation, but is to become something actual: while Form is the mode in which this undetermined something passes from its state of merely negative existence into that of real definite being. Or again, we may say, every real thing is at once individual and universal : it is either an individual universalized by the relations in which it exists or an universal individualized through the particular conditions which determinate existence imposes on it. The truth of things thus lies in the fully determined concrete rather than in the vague or empty abstract: or, in Aristotelian phraseology, it is a combination (oúvolov) in which matter merges in formand form gains reality through an as yet unformed matter. And in some such sense as this Soul is the substance that is, the concrete reality or substantial truth of Body.

Soul therefore, Aristotle himself elsewhere says, is the realization of the body (évépyela ouatos)?. This conception of realization occupies a prominent place in Aristotle's philosophy. The world Aristotle regarded as a perpetual process of development-a constant transformation of what merely had the power of being into that which actually existed. Existence therefore shewed two inseparable and correlative aspects of its operations—a state of potentiality or capability (dúvajis) on the one hand, and a state of actualization or realization (évépyela) on

[ocr errors]

us

1 Metaphys. Ζ. το, 1035b29, καθόλου δ' ουκ έστιν ουσία, αλλά σύνολόν τι εκ τουδί του λόγου και τησ δι της ύλης ως καθόλου. Cp. 1057*29, η ουσία γάρ έστι το είδος το ένόν, εξ ου και της ύλης ή σύνοδος λέγεται ουσία. And the sense of fully determined reality as equivalent to ovoia is put most clearly De Interpret. c. 13, 23823, τα μεν άνευ δυνάμεως ενέργειαί εισιν, οίον αι πρώται ουσίαι. For Aristotle's conception of üln the following passages are important: De Gen. I. 4, 320*2, ČOTI δε ύλη μάλιστα μεν και κυρίως το υποκείμενον γενέσεως και φθοράς δεκτικόν: Meta. Η. 1, 1042827, ύλην δε λέγω ή μη τόδε τι ουσα ενεργεία δυνάμει εσε

τόδε τι: simply in Meta. Z. 3, 1o2g820, λέγω δ' ύλην ή καθ' αυτήν μήτε τι μήτε ποσόν μήτε άλλο μηθέν λέγεται οίς ώρισται το όν. So shortly it is the αόριστον, the undetermined.

? Meta. H. 3, 1043a35.

or more

the other this realization being itself in turn only a stage of potentiality for the development of some other aspect of reality. It should be evident from this in what sense it is that soul is the realization of the body. Without soul, Aristotle implies, the body is a mere potential existence, a mere possible substratum for development in future: it is nothing actual or real. But the whole meaning of a potential capacity lies in its reference to the actual realization which expresses it?. Just as the seed reaches

its true meaning in the tree, so the soul constitutes the real > significance of the body. Soul is thus not only the realization,

the true meaning of the body: it is also in a sense its end or termination. When an organism has advanced so far as to possess a soul, it has reached, as it were, its last stage in development.

To express this aspect of the mental functions, Aristotle makes use of the word entelechy (ételéxela). The word is one which explains itself. Frequently, it is true, Aristotle fails to draw any strict line of distinction between entelechy and energy: but in theory, at least, the two are definitely separated from each other, and ¿vépyela represents merely a stage on the path towards évteléxela. Entelechy in short is the realization which contains the end (Témos) of a process: the complete expression of some function—the perfection of some phenomenon, the last stage in that process from potentiality to reality which we have already noticed Soul then is not only the realization of the body: it is its perfect realization or full development.

There is however a further differentiation of the term εντελεxela in the definition of the soul. The full development of any object or of any idea may be either implicit or explicit. The cognitive powers of man for instance find their development on the one hand in the possession of scientific truths and general

1 Eth. Nic. IX. 9, 17017, η δε δύναμις εις την ενέργειαν ανάγεται.

2 Meta. θ. 8, το50323, διό και τούνομα ενέργεια λέγεται κατά το έργον και συντείνει προς την εντελέχειαν. Whereas εντελέχεια connotes as it were both έργον and télos : it is a ëčks which is at the same time èvé pyela.

« PreviousContinue »