Aristotle, On the Soul

LCL 288: 8-9

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402 aI. Τῶν καλῶν καὶ τιμίων τὴν εἴδησιν ὑπολαμβάνοντες, μᾶλλον δ᾿ ἑτέραν ἑτέρας ἢ κατ᾿ ἀκρίβειαν ἢ τῷ βελτιόνων τε καὶ θαυμασιωτέρων εἶναι, δι᾿ ἀμφότερα ταῦτα τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἱστορίαν εὐλόγως 5ἂν ἐν πρώτοις τιθείημεν. δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν ἅπασαν ἡ γνῶσις αὐτῆς μεγάλα συμβάλλεσθαι, μάλιστα δὲ πρὸς τὴν φύσιν· ἔστι γὰρ οἷον ἀρχὴ τῶν ζῴων. ἐπιζητοῦμεν δὲ θεωρῆσαι καὶ γνῶναι τήν τε φύσιν αὐτῆς καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν, εἶθ᾿ ὅσα συμβέβηκε περὶ αὐτήν· ὧν τὰ μὲν ἴδια πάθη 10τῆς ψυχῆς εἶναι δοκεῖ, τὰ δὲ δι᾿ ἐκείνην καὶ τοῖς ζῴοις ὑπάρχειν. πάντῃ δὲ πάντως ἐστὶ τῶν χαλεπωτάτων λαβεῖν τινὰ πίστιν περὶ αὐτῆς. καὶ γὰρ ὄντος κοινοῦ τοῦ ζητήματος πολλοῖς ἑτέροις, λέγω δὲ τοῦ περὶ τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τοῦ τί ἐστι, τάχ᾿ ἄν τῳ δόξειε μία τις εἶναι μέθοδος κατὰ πάντων περὶ 15ὧν βουλόμεθα γνῶναι τὴν οὐσίαν, ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς ἰδίων ἀπόδειξις,1 ὥστε ζητητέον



Aristotle: on the Soul

Book I

I. We regard all knowledge as beautiful and valuable,The object and method of the inquiry. but one kind more so than another, either in virtue of its accuracy, or because it relates to higher and more wonderful things. On both these counts it is reasonable to regard the inquiry concerning the soul as of the first importance. Moreover this investigation seems likely to make a substantial contribution to the whole body of truth, and particularly to the study of nature; for the soul is in a sense the principle of animal life. So we seek to examine and investigate first the nature and essence of the soul, and then its <essential> attributes. Of the latter some seem to be affections peculiar to the soul, and others seem to belong to living things also, by virtue of the soul. But to attain any sure belief on the subject is hedged with difficulties on every side. This inquiry, I mean that which treats of the essence or essential nature, is common to many other fields, and one might suppose that there is one method applicable to all the things whose real nature we wish to understand; just as logical demonstration applies to all their <essential> attributes. If so, this method

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-soul.1957