Aristotle on the Mind and the Senses

G. E. R. Loyd and G. E. L. Owen, Aristotle on the Mind and the Senses. Cambridge U. Press, 1968.


“As the title of the treatise and the content of the first chapter indicates, the problem which Aristotle proposes to examine in De Anima is: What is the soul? Other formulas such as What is man? What is a living being?  What is life?, which would perhaps better correspond to the real content of the work, are not even alluded to. No doubt it is the human soul that is primarily envisaged in such a question; but Aristotle soon (in the form of a reproach addressed to other philosophers) expresses his intention of not restricting his investigation to that kind of soul. He is well aware of the fact that he is not the first to have asked what the soul is and, though he is not quite satisfied with the ancients’ approach to the question, either is he prepared to reject their general problem. For him too, the first thing is to know what the essence of the soul is and to this he devotes his main endeavor.”