“On the Soul” A.1 (Aristotle)

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image Audiobook Soul Aristotle A.1


You can read and follow the complete original Greek text of “On the Soul” in one of its existing editions here in case you don’t have a physical book at hand. For your convenience, the whole first chapter of Book-A is included below, recorded in reconstructed ancient Greek pronunciation by Ioannis Stratakis. Just click on the at the left of the text below for listening.

Περὶ Ψυχῆς, Α.1 :



[025″]
Τῶν καλῶν καὶ τιμίων τὴν εἴδησιν ὑπολαμβάνοντες, μᾶλλον δ᾽ ἑτέραν ἑτέρας ἢ κατ᾽ ἀκρίβειαν ἢ τῷ βελτιόνων τε καὶ θαυμασιωτέρων εἶναι, δι᾽ ἀμφότερα ταῦτα τὴν περὶ τῆς ψυχῆς ἱστορίαν εὐλόγως ἂν ἐν πρώτοις τιθείημεν.
[052″]   Δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν ἅπασαν ἡ γνῶσις αὐτῆς μεγάλα συμβάλλεσθαι, μάλιστα δὲ πρὸς τὴν φύσιν· ἔστι γὰρ οἷον ἀρχὴ τῶν ζῴων.
[065″]   Ἐπιζητοῦμεν δὲ θεωρῆσαι καὶ γνῶναι τήν τε φύσιν αὐτῆς καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν, εἶθ᾽ ὅσα συμβέβηκε περὶ αὐτήν· ὧν τὰ μὲν ἴδια πάθη τῆς ψυχῆς εἶναι δοκεῖ, τὰ δὲ δι᾽ ἐκείνην καὶ τοῖς ζῴοις ὑπάρχειν. Πάντῃ δὲ πάντως ἐστὶ τῶν χαλεπωτάτων λαβεῖν τινα πίστιν περὶ αὐτῆς.
[094″]   Καὶ γάρ, ὄντος κοινοῦ τοῦ ζητήματος καὶ πολλοῖς ἑτέροις, λέγω δὲ τοῦ περὶ τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τὸ τί ἐστι, τάχ᾽ ἄν τῳ δόξειε μία τις εἶναι μέθοδος κατὰ πάντων περὶ ὧν βουλόμεθα γνῶναι τὴν οὐσίαν, (ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς ἰδίων ἀπόδειξις), ὥστε ζητητέον ἂν εἴη τὴν μέθοδον ταύτην· εἰ δὲ μὴ ἔστι μία τις καὶ κοινὴ μέθοδος περὶ τὸ τί ἐστιν, ἔτι χαλεπώτερον γίνεται τὸ πραγματευθῆναι· δεήσει γὰρ λαβεῖν περὶ ἕκαστον τίς ὁ τρόπος, ἐὰν δὲ φανερὸν ᾖ πότερον ἀπόδειξίς ἐστιν ἢ διαίρεσις ἢ καί τις ἄλλη μέθοδος, ἔτι πολλὰς ἀπορίας ἔχει καὶ πλάνας, ἐκ τίνων δεῖ ζητεῖν· ἄλλαι γὰρ ἄλλων ἀρχαί, καθάπερ ἀριθμῶν καὶ ἐπιπέδων.

[159″]   Πρῶτον δ᾽ ἴσως ἀναγκαῖον διελεῖν ἐν τίνι τῶν γενῶν καὶ τί ἐστι, λέγω δὲ πότερον τόδε τι, καὶ οὐσία ἢ ποιὸν ἢ ποσόν, ἢ καί τις ἄλλη τῶν διαιρεθεισῶν κατηγοριῶν, ἔτι δὲ πότερον τῶν ἐν δυνάμει ὄντων ἢ μᾶλλον ἐντελέχειά τις· διαφέρει γὰρ οὔ τι σμικρόν.
[188″]   Σκεπτέον δὲ καὶ εἰ μεριστὴ ἢ ἀμερής, καὶ πότερον ὁμοειδὴς ἅπασα ψυχὴ ἢ οὔ· εἰ δὲ μὴ ὁμοειδής, πότερον εἴδει διαφέρουσα ἢ γένει. Νῦν μὲν γὰρ οἱ λέγοντες καὶ ζητοῦντες περὶ ψυχῆς περὶ τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης μόνης ἐοίκασιν ἐπισκοπεῖν· εὐλαβητέον δ᾽ ὅπως μὴ λανθάνῃ πότερον εἷς ὁ λόγος αὐτῆς ἐστι, καθάπερ ζῴου, ἢ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον ἕτερος, οἷον ἵππου, κυνός, ἀνθρώπου, θεοῦ, τὸ δὲ ζῷον τὸ καθόλου ἤτοι οὐθέν ἐστιν ἢ ὕστερον, ὁμοίως δὲ κἂν εἴ τι κοινὸν ἄλλο κατηγοροῖτο·
[236″]   Ἔτι δέ, εἰ μὴ πολλαὶ ψυχαὶ ἀλλὰ μόρια, πότερον δεῖ ζητεῖν πρότερον τὴν ὅλην ψυχὴν ἢ τὰ μόρια. Χαλεπὸν δὲ καὶ τούτων διορίσαι ποῖα πέφυκεν ἕτερα ἀλλήλων, καὶ πότερον τὰ μόρια χρὴ ζητεῖν πρότερον ἢ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν, οἷον τὸ νοεῖν ἢ τὸν νοῦν, καὶ τὸ αἰσθάνεσθαι ἢ τὸ αἰσθητικόν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων. Εἰ δὲ τὰ ἔργα πρότερον, πάλιν ἄν τις ἀπορήσειεν εἰ τὰ ἀντικείμενα πρότερον τούτων ζητητέον, οἷον τὸ αἰσθητὸν τοῦ αἰσθητικοῦ, καὶ τὸ νοητὸν τοῦ νοῦ.

[282″]   Ἔοικε δ᾽ οὐ μόνον τὸ τί ἐστι γνῶναι χρήσιμον εἶναι πρὸς τὸ θεωρῆσαι τὰς αἰτίας τῶν συμβεβηκότων ταῖς οὐσίαις (ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασι τί τὸ εὐθὺ καὶ τὸ καμπύλον, ἢ τί γραμμὴ καὶ ἐπίπεδον, πρὸς τὸ κατιδεῖν πόσαις ὀρθαῖς αἱ τοῦ τριγώνου γωνίαι ἴσαι), ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀνάπαλιν τὰ συμβεβηκότα συμβάλλεται μέγα μέρος πρὸς τὸ εἰδέναι τὸ τί ἐστιν· ἐπειδὰν γὰρ ἔχωμεν ἀποδιδόναι κατὰ τὴν φαντασίαν περὶ τῶν συμβεβηκότων, ἢ πάντων ἢ τῶν πλείστων, τότε καὶ περὶ τῆς οὐσίας ἕξομεν λέγειν κάλλιστα· πάσης γὰρ ἀποδείξεως ἀρχὴ τὸ τί ἐστιν, ὥστε καθ᾽ ὅσους τῶν ὁρισμῶν μὴ συμβαίνει τὰ συμβεβηκότα γνωρίζειν, ἀλλὰ μηδ᾽ εἰκάσαι περὶ αὐτῶν εὐμαρές, δῆλον ὅτι διαλεκτικῶς εἴρηνται καὶ κενῶς ἅπαντες.

[347″]   Ἀπορίαν δ᾽ ἔχει καὶ τὰ πάθη τῆς ψυχῆς, πότερόν ἐστι πάντα κοινὰ καὶ τοῦ ἔχοντος ἢ ἔστι τι καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς ἴδιον αὐτῆς· τοῦτο γὰρ λαβεῖν μὲν ἀναγκαῖον, οὐ ῥᾴδιον δέ.
[364″]   Φαίνεται δὲ τῶν μὲν πλείστων οὐθὲν ἄνευ τοῦ σώματος πάσχειν οὐδὲ ποιεῖν, οἷον ὀργίζεσθαι, θαῤῥεῖν, ἐπιθυμεῖν, ὅλως αἰσθάνεσθαι, μάλιστα δ᾽ ἔοικεν ἰδίῳ τὸ νοεῖν· εἰ δ᾽ ἐστὶ καὶ τοῦτο φαντασία τις ἢ μὴ ἄνευ φαντασίας, οὐκ ἐνδέχοιτ᾽ ἂν οὐδὲ τοῦτ᾽ ἄνευ σώματος εἶναι.
[391″]   Εἰ μὲν οὖν ἔστι τι τῶν τῆς ψυχῆς ἔργων ἢ παθημάτων ἴδιον, ἐνδέχοιτ᾽ ἂν αὐτὴν χωρίζεσθαι· εἰ δὲ μηθέν ἐστιν ἴδιον αὐτῆς, οὐκ ἂν εἴη χωριστή, ἀλλὰ καθάπερ τῷ εὐθεῖ, ᾗ εὐθύ, πολλὰ συμβαίνει, οἷον ἅπτεσθαι τῆς [χαλκῆς] σφαίρας κατὰ στιγμήν, οὐ μέντοι γ᾽ ἅψεται οὕτως χωρισθέν τι εὐθύ· ἀχώριστον γάρ, εἴπερ ἀεὶ μετὰ σώματός τινος ἐστιν.
[426″]   Ἔοικε δὲ καὶ τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς πάθη πάντα εἶναι μετὰ σώματος θυμός, πραότης, φόβος, ἔλεος, θάρσος, ἔτι χαρὰ καὶ τὸ φιλεῖν τε καὶ μισεῖν· ἅμα γὰρ τούτοις πάσχει τι τὸ σῶμα.
[443″]   Μηνύει δὲ τὸ ποτὲ μὲν ἰσχυρῶν καὶ ἐναργῶν παθημάτων συμβαινόντων μηδὲν παροξύνεσθαι ἢ φοβεῖσθαι, ἐνίοτε δ᾽ ὑπὸ μικρῶν καὶ ἀμαυρῶν κινεῖσθαι, ὅταν ὀργᾷ τὸ σῶμα καὶ οὕτως ἔχῃ ὥσπερ ὅταν ὀργίζηται. Ἔτι δὲ μᾶλλον τοῦτο φανερόν· μηθενὸς γὰρ φοβεροῦ συμβαίνοντος ἐν τοῖς πάθεσι γίνονται τοῖς τοῦ φοβουμένου. Εἰ δ᾽ οὕτως ἔχει, δῆλον ὅτι τὰ πάθη λόγοι ἔνυλοί εἰσιν· ὥστε οἱ ὅροι τοιοῦτοι οἷον “τὸ ὀργίζεσθαι κίνησίς τις τοῦ τοιουδὶ σώματος ἢ μέρους ἢ δυνάμεως ὑπὸ τοῦδε ἕνεκα τοῦδε”.

[494″]   Καὶ διὰ ταῦτα ἤδη φυσικοῦ τὸ θεωρῆσαι περὶ ψυχῆς, ἢ πάσης ἢ τῆς τοιαύτης.
[504″]   Διαφερόντως δ᾽ ἂν ὁρίσαιντο ὁ φυσικὸς [τε] καὶ ὁ διαλεκτικὸς ἕκαστον αὐτῶν, οἷον ὀργὴ τί ἐστιν· ὁ μὲν γὰρ ὄρεξιν ἀντιλυπήσεως ἤ τι τοιοῦτον, ὁ δὲ ζέσιν τοῦ περὶ καρδίαν αἵματος καὶ θερμοῦ. Τούτων δὲ ὁ μὲν τὴν ὕλην ἀποδίδωσιν, ὁ δὲ τὸ εἶδος καὶ τὸν λόγον.
[530″]   Ὁ μὲν γὰρ λόγος ὅδε τοῦ πράγματος, ἀνάγκη δ᾽ εἶναι τοῦτον ἐν ὕλῃ τοιᾳδί, εἰ ἔσται· ὥσπερ οἰκίας ὁ μὲν λόγος τοιοῦτος, ὅτι σκέπασμα κωλυτικὸν φθορᾶς ὑπ᾽ ἀνέμων καὶ ὄμβρων καὶ καυμάτων, ὁ δὲ φήσει λίθους καὶ πλίνθους καὶ ξύλα, ἕτερος δ᾽ ἐν τούτοις τὸ εἶδος ἕνεκα τωνδί.

[559″]   Τίς οὖν ὁ φυσικὸς τούτων; πότερον ὁ περὶ τὴν ὕλην, τὸν δὲ λόγον ἀγνοῶν, ἢ ὁ περὶ τὸν λόγον μόνον; ἢ μᾶλλον ὁ ἐξ ἀμφοῖν; ἐκείνων δὲ δὴ τίς ἑκάτερος; ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν εἷς ὁ περὶ τὰ πάθη τῆς ὕλης τὰ μὴ χωριστὰ μηδ᾽ ᾗ χωριστά, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ φυσικὸς περὶ ἅπανθ᾽ ὅσα τοῦ τοιουδὶ σώματος καὶ τῆς τοιαύτης ὕλης ἔργα καὶ πάθη, ὅσα δὲ μὴ τοιαῦτα, ἄλλος, καὶ περὶ τινῶν μὲν τεχνίτης, ἐὰν τύχῃ, οἷον τέκτων ἢ ἰατρός, τῶν δὲ μὴ χωριστῶν μέν, ᾗ δὲ μὴ τοιούτου σώματος πάθη καὶ ἐξ ἀφαιρέσεως, ὁ μαθηματικός, ᾗ δὲ κεχωρισμένα, ὁ πρῶτος φιλόσοφος;

[612″]   Ἀλλ᾽ ἐπανιτέον ὅθεν ὁ λόγος. Ἐλέγομεν δὴ ὅτι τὰ πάθη τῆς ψυχῆς οὕτως ἀχώριστα τῆς φυσικῆς ὕλης τῶν ζῴων, ᾗ γε τοιαῦθ᾽ ὑπάρχει θυμὸς καὶ φόβος, καὶ οὐχ ὥσπερ γραμμὴ καὶ ἐπίπεδον.


[025″]
Τaking understanding as one of the fine and worthy things, and one kind as more so than another, either because of its accuracy or because it is about better and more remarkable things, on both these grounds we should with good reason place the study of the soul in the first rank.
[052″]   It is thought also, that an acquaintance with it makes a great contribution to every truth, and especially to the study of nature, for the soul is, as it were, the first principle of living things.
[065″]   We seek to consider and ascertain both its nature and its substance and after that all the attributes belonging to it; of these some are thought to be affections peculiar to the soul, while others are thought to belong to living things because of it. But in every respect and way it is most difficult to attain any conviction about this.
[094″]   Because the question is common to many other things, viz. the essence and the “what is it?”, one might quickly suppose that there was a single method of inquiry into all objects whose essential nature we try to know, (as would be demonstrated for attributes too); in that case this one method would be what we have to seek for. But if there is not one common method about what a thing is, it becomes ever more difficult to investigate. Because we shall have to establish what is the way to proceed in each case. Even if this were clear, e.g. that the method is a demonstration, a division or some other process, we would still have many hesitations and misunderstandings… about where we ought to be searching from. For, different subjects have different principles, as of course numbers–and–planes have.

[159″]   First surely we must determine in which of the genera the soul is and what it is; I mean whether it is a particular thing and substance or is it a quality, a quantity or some other of the distinguished categories, then determine if it is one of those things in potentiality or rather a kind of actuality, for this makes no small difference.
[188″]   And we must inquire also if it is divisible or indivisible and whether every soul is of similar kind or not; 
and if not of similar kind whether they differ in species or genus. For now, people who speak and research about the soul seem to study only the human soul; but we ought to beware overlooking the question whether there is one definition of the soul, as a living thing, or whether there is a different definition for each, like for horse, dog, man, god; and the universally “living thing” is either nothing or sequential; And similarly for any other common predicate.
[236″]   Further, whether there are not many souls but only parts [of only one], what should we research first the whole soul or the parts? It is also difficult to decide which of these [parts] differ from each other and, whether one must first inquire into the parts, or their works; that is, thinking or that which can think (νοῦς) and, perceiving or that which can perceive; and similarly also with the rest. And if first the works, again one might ask whether to inquire into the corresponding objects before these, that is, the perceptibles before that which can perceive 
and, the objects of thought before that which can think.

[282″]   It seems that not only knowing what a thing is, is useful for considering the causes of attributes following substances (as in mathematics, knowing what straight and curved is, or what is a line and a plane, helps ascertaining how many right angles equal the angles of a triangle), but also conversely, the attributes contribute a great part to understanding of what a thing is; because when we are able to give an account of attributes as they appear to us, either all or most of them, then we shall also be able to speak best about the substance; because every demonstration starts from what a thing is, consequently, for those definitions that don’t enable us to ascertain the attributes nor even guess about them, it is easy! they are clearly stated dialectically and vacuously.

[347″]   There is also difficulty in judging the soul’s affections, if all are common also to that which has them or if any is peculiar to the soul itself; because this is indispensable to deal with, though not easy.
[364″]   It seems that in most cases the soul is not affected or acting without involving the body, as when being angry, courageous, desiring, and all feeling in general, though thinking looks most likely peculiar to the soul. 
But if this too is imagination or does not exist without imagination, it wouldn’t be possible neither for this to exist without the body.
[391″]   If now there is any of the actions or passivities of the soul peculiar to it, it can possibly be separated (from the body). If there is nothing peculiar to it, it cannot exist separated, but it will be like what is straight, to which, by been straight many attributes come from it, like: touching a copper sphere at a point, because, of course, the straight will not so touch, if separated; it is inseparable, or, it is always found with a body.
[426″]   It seems that all the affections of the soul exist along with the body – passion, gentleness, fear, pity, courage, and further, joy, loving and hating; for, together with these, the body is affected.
[443″]   This is indicated by the fact that sometimes violent and striking sufferings do not provoke excitement or fear, while at other times small and imperceptible sufferings do produce these emotions, viz. when the body is aroused and is such as when in anger. Even more evident is this: for nothing terrible happening one becomes affected like someone frightened. This been such, it is evident that the affections are enmattered principles; consequently their definitions will be like: “Being angry is a movement of this body or part of it or potentiality, by this cause and to this purpose”.

[494″]   And therefor, it is of the scientist of nature to study about the soul in general or in particular.
[504″]   In a different way would the scientist of nature and the dialectician define each of these, e.g. “what is anger”. The latter would define it as “a desire for returning sorrow for sorrow” or something like this, 
the former as “the boiling of the blood and heat around the heart”. Of them, the one assigns the matter, the other the form and formulable essence.
 [530″]   For this essence of the thing, must necessarily be in matter of such or such a kind, if it is to exist; thus over the essence of a house one will say “a covering preventing deterioration by winds and rain and heat”, another will say “a house is stones, bricks, and timber” while another “the form in these materials, for these purposes”.

[559″]   Which one of these, then, is the scientist of nature? Is it the one concerned with the matter, but ignorant of the essence or the one concerned with the essence only? 
Or rather the one concerned with both? And from them, what is each one? Or is there not one particular person concerned with the non separable affections of matter, nor thought as separable, except the scientist of nature, who is concerned with all actions or affections of a certain body and a certain matter? and whatever else is the concern of somebody else? like in some cases there happens to be a craftsman, e.g. a carpenter or doctor; for what is not separable, but thought not as affections of certain bodies and by abstraction, is the concern of the mathematician? those which are separated, the concern of the “First Philosopher”?

[612″]   But let’s return to where the discussion began. We were saying that the affections of the soul are in this way inseparable from the natural matter of living things, if there are such things in it like passion and fear, and not in the same mode as a line or a plane.


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