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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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The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul

The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul

(p.93) 5 The Priority of the Objects over the Capacities of the Soul
The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Thomas Kjeller Johansen

Oxford University Press

Aristotle says in DA II.4 that the objects are prior in account not only to the capacities of the soul but also to their activities. As the case of nutrition shows, this claim is best understood if the object is taken as the formal cause of the activities and the capacities, rather than simply as their efficient cause. Understanding the object of nutrition as the formal cause also helps explain the unity of the nutritive soul, as responsible for both nutrition proper, generation, and growth, in that these three activities, despite their differences, all make essential reference to the same form, that of the living being in question. Further problems to the object criterion presented by touch, taste, and smell can be overcome by attending to Aristotle's detailed characterizations of their objects.

Keywords:   nutrition, proper object, priority in account, final cause, formal cause, efficient cause

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