Substance, Body and Soul: Aristotelian Investigations

Substance, Body and Soul: Aristotelian Investigations

Edwin Hartman
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 304
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    Substance, Body and Soul: Aristotelian Investigations
    Book Description:

    Edwin Hartman explores Aristotle's metaphysical assumptions as they illuminate his thought and some issues of current philosophical significance. The author's analysis of the theory of the soul treats such topics of lively debate as ontological primacy, spatio-temporal continuity, personal identity, and the relation between mind and body.

    Aristotle presents a world populated primarily by individual material objects rather than by their parts or by universals. The author notes that defense of this view requires Aristotle to create the notion of form or essence. A material object, the Philosopher holds, is identical with its particular essence, and is not a combination of form and matter. Most important, a person is a substance and his essence is his soul. Personal identify is therefore bodily identity, and survival consists in bodily continuity. The relation between a state of perceiving and a state of the body is a special case of the weak identity between form and matter.

    Originally published in 1978.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6941-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknoivledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    A ristotle holds that a person is a substance, a material object complete with form, matter, location, and some accidental properties. Accordingly, his doctrine that the soul is the form of the body is an application of his ontological views to some problems in what is now called the philosophy of mind. His position entails solutions for the problem of personal identity and the mind-body problem; for personal identity is a special case of the spatio-temporal continuity of a material object, and the relation of the soul to the body is a special case of the relation of form to...

    (pp. 10-56)

    From the beginning Aristotle views the individual material object as the primary sort of being. He holds to the primacy of the individual throughout his career, despite difficulties he discovers as he goes along, and despite modifications and clarifications these difficulties require him to make in his notion of substance. In theCategoriesthe individual is considered primary because the universal depends on it for its being, and the individual property for its identity, if not its being (Section I below). According to both theCategoriesand thePosterior Analytics,the world is reflected in the language in which we...

    (pp. 57-87)

    A RISTOTLE’S conception of substance eventually requires not only defense but also refinement. He does not abandon the position that a substance is a material object, but it becomes clear that not just any piece of matter qualifies as a substance. A substance is the sort of thing it is by virtue of its form or essence, which is therefore a necessary condition of it. This chapter explores a further advance, at least in exposition; for it turns out that an essence is a sufficient as well as necessary condition of a substance, and even that the relation between each...

    (pp. 88-130)

    The form-matter relation may seem ill suited to encompass the relation between the mind and the body; but if it is correctly understood, it works rather well. This chapter will concentrate on how it works as a basis for solution of what is now called the problem of personal identity. Form is, after all, a subtle notion: the form of something is just its shape only in those few simple cases in which it is the shape of a substance that makes it what it is. Aristotle’s discussion of the cases, more common but less well suited to introductory philosophical...

    (pp. 131-166)

    A RISTOTLE has two important general points to make. against what is recognizably a kind of materialism. The first is that certain events of the soul (primarily thoughts) are unaccompanied by events in the body. I shall deal with those events mainly in Chapter Six. His second point is that certain other soul events do require bodily events as accompaniment but are nevertheless not identical with them. Instead, soul events and bodily events are related as form and matter. That relation is the one I shall be discussing in this chapter and the next. I shall attend to the psychological...

    (pp. 167-219)

    If Aristotle’s conception of the mind and its relation to physical nature is at all like that of any contemporary analytical philosopher, the similarities will surface in the discussion of perception. For analysis of perception usually draws one's attention to internal representations of sensed items, and these representations are thought to be characteristically mental entities. I think some philosophers have misunderstood them, and in particular our knowledge of them, to the detriment of a possible rational materialism. But the immediate question is not whether materialism is true, but whether Aristotle thinks about the features of the entities that lead some...

    (pp. 220-270)

    The topic of thought is particularly important to the present enterprise because Aristotle holds that the faculty of thought is the one part of the soul that is separated from the body. He is therefore not finally a thoroughgoing materialist by modern standards; and what is required is an assessment of his reasons for not being a materialist. The reasons have to do with intentionality, the elusive feature that has been thought to characterize human thought and desire and so to make them importantly different from physical states and events. Thought, desire, and other similar mental states have the odd...

  11. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 271-284)
  12. Index
    (pp. 285-287)
  13. Index of Passages in the Works of Aristotle
    (pp. 288-292)