An approach to types of soul

Define life as what assimilates to maintain existence. 

This seems to be one way of seeing why Aristotle why he divided types of soul in the way he did. Non-living things might maintain themselves, but not by assimilation. Atoms are stable but do not maintain this stability by shedding old neutrons and getting new ones; machines qua machines don’t build the parts that wear down.

The simplest assimilation is of materials: feeding and the subsequent nutrition. Living beings build their own parts from the raw materials of the world. Reproduction is a bit harder to understand, since we can no longer see it as an assimilation of the eternal, but since offspring counts as a sort of self (what is re-produced is not the offspring, but the self) reproduction maintains the self from the matter of the self and not from the matter of world.

Sensation is a different sort of assimilation that preserves the otherness of phenomena whereas feeding destroys it; intellection is an assimilation of a similar kind, but one that preserves the otherness of being.

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