Aristotle, De Anima III.3-5

Review of Metaphysics 28 (4):611 - 622 (1975)
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The physicist defines anger in terms of heart, blood, and heat; the dialectician says it is the desire to inflict pain in retaliation. Both give fairly sure signs for its recognition; but neither can show why these signs must go together and in what they can cohere. Aristotelian physics is presumably a way to avoid such a split, and whatever defects his account of perception or intellection suffers from cannot be traced to it. Phantasia, however, seems to be dialectically distinguished from other faculties of soul and physically defined as a kind of motion; and even if Aristotle could say at what speed it moves, we do not discern in such a definition the ground for its being the link between perception and intellection. The soul is the source of both motion and awareness; and since it cannot be the efficient cause of motion without destroying the possibility of awareness, something in its cognitive capacity must be able to translate the nonmotivating acts of perception or of intellection into causes of motion. That something seems to be again phantasia, which thus comes to light as the soul’s double bond, linking the aesthetic with the noetic and awareness with motion. Phantasia is as inseparable from desire as it is from thought. It is the closest Aristotle comes to acknowledging that self-moving motion is soul.



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