Soul's Tools

In Heat, pneuma and soul in ancient philosophy and science, (forthcoming)
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This paper explores the various ways Aristotle refers to and employs “heat and cold” in his embryology. In my view, scholars are too quick to assume that references to heat and cold are references to matter or an animal’s material nature. More commonly, I argue, Aristotle refers to heat and cold as the “tools” of soul. As I understand it, Aristotle is thinking of heat and cold in many contexts as auxiliary causes by which soul activities (primarily “concoction”) are carried out. This, as I argue, is what it means to call them “tools” of soul. An upshot of this investigation is the fuller picture of Aristotle’s conception of efficient causation it provides in general, and the better understanding of the efficient causal operation of an organism’s nature or soul it provides in particular.
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Archival date: 2019-03-16
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