On Aristotle On the Soul 1.1-2.4 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle)
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The commentary attributed to Simplicius on Aristotle's On the Soul appears in this series in three volumes, of which this is the first. The translation provides the first opportunity for a wider readership to assess the disputed question of authorship. Is the work by Simplicius, or by his colleague Priscian, or by another commentator? In the second volume, Priscian's Paraphrase of Theophrastus on Sense Perception, which covers the same subject, will also be translated for comparison.
Whatever its authorship, the commentary is a major source for late Neoplatonist theories of thought and sense perception and provides considerable insight into this important area of Aristotle's thought. In this first volume, the Neoplatonist commentator covers the first half of Aristotle's On the Soul, comprising Aristotle's survey of his predecessors and his own rival account of the nature of the soul.
either a simple body or a Translation 55 compound, like a living thing, and these are in a place. This is shown by ‘the listed forms of change are in a place’, since they happen to what is in a place, i.e. what has its own parts in different places, so that the changes which are divisible will be actualities of a divisible thing.169 But the soul is not in a place, being present as a whole in all the body as its minimal form of life, touch, shows, being present as a whole in every one of our
but only with regard to its contemplative activity, since it is not active in this way throughout its existence. But perhaps it is better to say this, that he demonstrates through this that the soul of mortal things has the activity divided from its being, so that, having its being in accordance with the Translation 121 projective character of its activity and power, it may achieve completion when it is also active, differing in this way from intellect which is activity in its being, while
the actuality of body. But nothing prevents it if it is so, not through the whole of its being nor through all its activity. For in that respect it will be the actuality of no body. For it is hard to imagine the intellect holding any body together, as he said in Book 1, since, as he will say in Book 3,356 he who contemplates does not even use the body as an instrument. That is why he is not blinded by the greater from knowledge of the lesser as in sensation. 413a8 But also it is unclear whether
potentially belongs to it and its appropriate matter. So it is apparent from these considerations that the soul is a certain actuality and principle of that which has the potential to become of a certain sort.386] CHAPTER 3 [Of the powers of the soul mentioned, all belong to some, some
analogically related, they are distinguished not like species at the same level of division (sustoikhos) but in depth (kata bathos). The pros hen relation implies that one of them would be a central case and that, properly speaking, the rest could not be called soul. Cf. 96,25ff. For ta hos aph’ henos kai pros hen legomena, see Aristotle, Metaph. 4.2; 7, 1030b2-6; 8, 1043a30. On ambiguously named things or homonyms, see Cat. 1. The usage of homonymy in the Early Academy has been traced by H.J.