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The human soul, however, seems to be of a different kind ( genos etepron ), and separable as the eternal from the perishable.
Aristotle's conception of the soul differs fundamentally from that of Plato for whom the vital principle is related to the body only as the pilot to the ship; who moreover distinguishes three numerically different souls in the individual man. Medieval Period The Aristotelian theory in its essential features was adopted by Albertus Magnus and St.
The human soul was conceived as a spiritual substantial principle containing virtually the lower faculties of sensory and vegetative life.
It is through this lower organic capacity that it is enabled to inform and animate the matter of the body.
For Aristotle the chief universal phenomena of life are nutrition, growth, and decay.
Prime Matter ( materia prima ) is the common passive potential element in all sensible substances; form is the determining factor. Neither prime matter nor any corporeal form can exist apart from each other.
(Greek zoe ; Latin vita ; French La vie , German Das Leben ; vital principle; Greek psyche ; Latin anima , vis vitalis , German leberzskraft ). What is the inner nature of the source of vital activity? Such are among the chief questions which present themselves with regard to this subject. Greek Period The early Greek philosophers for the most part looked on movement as the most essential characteristic of life, different schools advocating different material elements as the ultimate principle of life. Others compound it of all the elements, whilst some of the Pythagoreans explain it as a harmony -- foreshadowing modern mechanical theories.
The enigma of life is still one of the two or three most difficult problems that face both scientist and philosopher, and notwithstanding the progress of knowledge during the past twenty-three hundred years we do not seem to have advanced appreciably beyond the position of Aristotle in regard to the main issue. For Democritus and most of the Atomists it was a sort of subtle fire. Aristotle caustically remarks that all the elements except earth had obtained a vote.
They are called substantial principles because combined they result in a being; but they are incomplete beings in themselves, incapable of existing alone.
To the form is due the specific nature of the being with its activities and properties. (See FORM; MATTER.) For Aristotle, in the case of living natural bodies the vital principle, psyche is the form.
The highest kind of life is mind or reason, exerting itself in thought or rational activity. There are not in man three really distinct souls, as Plato taught.