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 As Aristotle himself wrote: "The knowledge of the soul admittedly contributes

greatly to the advance of truth in general, and, above all, to our understanding of
Nature, for the soul is in some sense the principle of animal life. [...] To attain any
assured knowledge about the soul is one of the most difficult things in the world."
 The soul, according to Aristotle, is a grounding principle of sorts. It is the
realization of life. The soul is the one thing that enables a body to engage in the
necessary activities of life and they build upon one another. The more parts of
the soul a being possesses, the more evolved and developed he is.
 Soul is an account that articulates the ways in which all of the vital functions of all
animate organisms are related to the soul
 A soul is a particular kind of nature, a principle that accounts for change and rest
in the particular case of living bodies, i.e. plants, nonhuman animals and human
beings. The relation between soul and body, on Aristotle's view, is also an
instance of the more general relation between form and matter: thus an
ensouled, living body is a particular kind of in-formed matter.
 it is clear that the soul is, according to Aristotle, not itself a body or a corporeal
 The Three Divisions of Soul by Aristotle:

Nutritional faculty
Irrational <
Appetitive faculty (moral virtues)
Rational <
Purely rational (intellectual virtues)
o The Nutritive Soul
 The first and most widely shared among all living things. This is the
part responsible for nutrition and growth. It has no share in reason and
is therefore not directly relevant to the virtues.
 it can be said that anything that takes in nutrition, grows from this
nutrition, and eventually decays over time has a soul.
 It takes place even during sleep, and has no role in virtue
 Plants, for example, possess the nutritive soul solely while it is one of
two or three parts of the soul possessed by animals and humans.
 The nutritive soul is what urges any creature to protect itself whenever
possible, but also to produce offspring in any form because it's own life
is finite.

o Appetitive Soul
 This is the part that governs desire. It “partakes of reason insofar as it
complies with reason and accepts its leadership” It is partly rational
(because it can be trained to follow reason) and partly irrational
(because it is not itself a faculty of thought). Its virtues are the “moral”
virtues such as temperance, courage, truthfulness, and so on.
 Also called the sensible soul, or the soul of perception, is the part of
the soul that allows us to perceive the world around us. It
encompasses the senses but also allows us to remember things that
happened to us, experience pain and pleasure, and have appetites
and desires.
 Most animals and all humans possess the sensible soul while plants to
not. Of course, not all animals have the same abilities of perception.
Those who solely possess sense organs for a single sense can
potentially not be actualized by the sensible soul and are more like
plants, possessing only the nutritive soul. A cricket, for example, or
 Aristotle believed that animals and humans both possess the sensible
soul. However, he asks the question if animals have the capacity for
belief. Belief would seem to imply conviction. Conviction would seem to
imply that a creature was persuaded, because one can not be
convinced of something without being persuaded in some way. Finally,
persuasion would seem to imply a rational function of measuring
possibilities and drawing conclusions, a function that Aristotle believed
animals did not possess.

o The Rational Soul

 It belongs to man alone. The rational soul is that by virtue of which we
possess the capacity for rational thought.
 This is the part responsible for reason (logos). Its virtues include
theoretical wisdom (sophia), understanding (sunesis), and practical
wisdom (phronesis).
 Its intellectual virtues are wisdom, intelligence, prudence and its moral
virtues are liberality, temperance
 Aristotle divides rational thought into two groups.
 The first is the passive intellect. It is the part of our mind that
collects information and stores it for later use. This is almost an
extension of the sensible soul in that it allows us to act upon the
information gathered by that part of the soul.
 The active intellect is the part that allows us to engage in the
actual process of thinking. It allows us to take our sensory input,
combine it with our memories and skills and apply it to our
betterment. Aristotle also believed that the active intellect was
responsible for our ability to consider abstract concepts that we
have never perceived. Through active intellect, philosophy
becomes possible and it is this ability that distinguishes humans
from animals.



Bradshaw, D. (1998). Aristotle. Retrieved from

Lorenz, H. (2003, October 23). Ancient Theories of Soul. Retrieved from