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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5 Comments

    • July 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Do you think this is a different sort of growth than the way an icicle or stalactite or a dust bunny grows? Are crystals maintaining existence by growth in a sense of growth that is different from this?

      • July 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        Well, that’s what I was asking you. I haven’t seen entire articles dedicated to how icicles and dust bunnies grow.

      • July 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm

        There’s some good studies on dust bunnies, but you’ll have to take my word for it since I’ve lost the citation. That or Google.

      • robalspaugh said,

        July 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm

        I had a thought similar to Olaus upon reading the post, but I think “growth by accretion” is either 1) a mid-point between the atom and the living thing or 2) has nothing to do with maintaining existence. It’s certainly not the dynamic, internal process that marks living things. The living thing maintains its own existence; its growth is its act. The crystal’s growth is not something the crystal does; it is something outside forces do to it.

        Or something.


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