Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 9 months ago

Does Aristotle s god have a soul (or is it a soul)?

Hey guys, I have a final coming up for one of my philosophy classes on Aristotle and I know this question is going to be on the exam and I ve been searching the internet trying to find the answer/deduce my own answer but am having no luck. I read brief portions of Aristotle s On the Soul but still do not understand how to accurately answer the question, if someone could shed some light it would be much appreciated!

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Your internet search skills suck. this took me less than 15 seconds to find:

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    To answer the general question, one might well begin with a Wittgenstein approach: define "soul" as you estimate it to be (e.g., "My soul does magnify the LORD"), and then determine what Aristotle's definition is.

    Also, if the term "god" is in play, do the same two-step definitional process.

    Aristotle's definition, then, ~ = that which is the (proximal) "first cause" of the thing (a lawnmower's nature or soul is to mow lawns, etc.). Aristotle has three soul-types, quite similar to Plato's Eikasia (vegetative), Pistis (sensitive), and Dianoia (rational); thus Plato's Noesis more = Plotinus' and the Christians' notion of soul as including or reflecting Immanent Transcendence. Like Plato's divided line, Ari's soul-levels are consecutively accumulative: rational includes sensitive and vegetative, sensitive understands vegetative.

    Aristotle's triune soul ~ = Bergson's elan vitale ("vital impetus" aka first or guiding cause being a correct translation). (It may be worth noting that the tri-unity of vegetative, sensitive, and rational is similar in typology to the Christian Holy Spirit, Christ Love, and God Mind.) In both Aristotle's and Bergson's cases, "it is what it is," an epistemological tautology or posited axiom: a performance showing this "fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly" elan vitale or "it is what it is" (with emphasis on the sensitive soul or love ;-):

    Youtube thumbnail

    (also an example of an ideal Socratic wife?).

    In fine, a thinker whose native perspicacity = Aristotle's vegetative, sensitive, and rational soul (which reflects Ari's own sensibilities) is not likely to find the God of Plato, Plotinus, and Moses/Jesus/Mohammad (owbp)/Sri Ramakrishna, but rather, in the manner of Aristotle, a god created after Aristotle's own sensibility--man, Aristotle, as the center of perception, rather than even a Bergsonian intuition of "I Am that I Am." In other words, to note the insight of the Comment, Aristotle wrongly equates time with imperishability. The Christian God, even according to the Aristotelian apologist Saint Thomas Aquinas, is Eternal. Likewise, Ari believed the world to be eternal, and from this posits his prime mover, aka "god." Aristotle's own soul-mentation (veg, emo, and rat) is reductive, indicating his "god" is merely "rational." Aquinas tries to find in such reductive ratiocination the Judeo-Christian God-qualities of Love and Mercy, but, given Aristotle's own veg-emo-rat level of "soul"-awareness, the most that may be logically inferred of Ari's god is that it is "first energy" and a disembodied "intellect" (aka Aristotle's mind raised to the nth degree). Such is the "god" of Aristotle's soul-sensibility. A genuine Oneness with God, Soul, is Plotinus' Soul-realization. Related: "Return to the One: Plotinus's Guide to God-Realization." It is the case that Aristotle looks at the light of energy, and reasons that something must be first cause, prime mover; even a C. S. Lewis, looking along (with, realizing) the Light, is more insightful, profound. It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain Aristotle's type or level of thought without necessarily accepting it...and there is more to Noesis than the sum of vegetative-sensitive-rational mindfulness. Howbeit, Aristotle's bright and amazing genius at the level of Dianoia, science, rationality, is praiseworthy.

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