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6_on_soul - 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof Rae...

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24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae Langton II. Aristotle Lecture 6. Aristotle’s On the Soul 1. Soul as form and function. Aristotle says the living organism is body plus soul in just the way that an eye is eye-jelly plus sight, and an axe is metal plus the power to cut. Soul is the form, or functional organization, of body. Elsewhere he considers how this analysis to particular affections of the soul, such as anger: Definitions...of the affections will be of the following kind: ‘Anger is a kind of movement of a body of the given kind or of a part or capacity of such a body because of one thing and for the sake of another.’ Thus it is already within the province of the natural philosopher to have a theory about the soul, either quite generally or about the given kind of soul. But the natural philosopher and the dialectician would give a different definition of each of the affections, for instance in answer to the question ‘What is anger?’ For the dialectician will say that it is a desire for revenge or something like that, while the natural philosopher will say that it is a boiling of the blood and hot stuff about the heart. And of these the one will be expounding the matter, the other the form and rationale. For the rationale of the thing is indeed the one given, but it is necessary that this be in matter of the appropriate kind if it is to occur. It is the same as is the case with a house; the rationale will be something like ‘A covering preventative of destruction by wind, rain and sun’. But while one philosopher will say that the house is composed of stones, bricks and beams, another will say that it is the form in these things for the given purposes.
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