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The Powers of Aristotle's Soul$
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Thomas Kjeller Johansen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658435.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Thomas Kjeller Johansen

Oxford University Press

Ancient Greek thinkers commonly understood the soul as a cause of life. Aristotle's notion of a capacity (dunamis) of the soul was such a cause. Aristotle plays a founding role in the history of faculty psychology. The introduction raises the question of how he thinks the soul is to be defined through its capacities and sketch their role within the composition of the soul. Two standard objections to faculty psychology are mentioned, the ‘homunculus’ and the ‘virtus dormitiva’ objections, and the Introduction indicates how Aristotle would address them. The Introduction offers a rough comparison with modern faculty psychology, suggesting that both modular and holistic approaches to the explanation of life activities can be distinguished in Aristotle. Finally, the Introduction characterizes the project of this book in the context of current literature.

Keywords:   soul, faculty psychology, natural philosophy, life, modularity, four causes

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