Presentation on theme: "The Initiation of Action De Anima, Book 3, Chapters 9-10 Diana Mertz Hsieh 10 December 2003 …Or “Come on baby, do the locomotion…”"— Presentation transcript:
The Initiation of Action De Anima, Book 3, Chapters 9-10 Diana Mertz Hsieh 10 December 2003 …Or “Come on baby, do the locomotion…”
The Steps of the Argument 1. Pose the question 2. Note the implications for a wider issue 3. Consider and exclude possible answers 4. Propose a theory 5. Essentialize the theory 6. Identify implications for the wider issue 7. Work out various side issues 8. Offer a baffling analogy 9. Summarize
Step 1: Pose a question (B3:C9:P1) Since the soul of animals defined with respect to perception and locomotion, what is it in the soul that initiates locomotion?
Step 2: Note implications (B3:C9:P2-3) An “immediate difficulty”: How ought we distinguish the parts of the soul? –Platonic versus Aristotelian division –Imagination and desire seem different from the nutritive, perceptual, and rational parts.
Step 3: Exclude answers (B3:C9:P6-9) Action is not initiated by… –The nutritive part –The perceptual part –The contemplative part Action is inadequately explained by… –Practical reason –Desire
Step 4: Propose theory (B3:C10:P1-2) Motion is initiated from two sources: practical reason and desire. But weren’t those explanations inadequate? Yes, but only in isolation. Imagination can serve the same function role as practical reason in non-rational beasts and irrational people.
Step 5: Essentialize theory (B3:C10:P3) Motion is initiated by the faculty of desire. But what about reason and imagination? Desire Practical Reason Action “…desire is for something, which something is the starting point of practical reason, while its final stage is the beginning of action” (B3:C10:P1). Reason is not a slave to the passions. The faculty of desire is “the sort of capacity in the soul which initiates motion.” (B3:C10:P5)
Step 6: Note implications (B3:C10:P5) The soul is better divided based on Aristotelian capacities than Platonic parts. “For those who distinguish parts of the soul, there will turn out to be a great many, if they distinguish and separate them consequent upon their capabilities: the faculties of nutrition, perception, thought, and deliberation, and, further, a faculty of desire.” (B3:C10:P5)
Step 7: Address asides (B3:C10:P6-8) An account of conflicts between reason and appetites The moved and unmoved in locomotion The bodily instrument of desire
Step 8: Offer Analogy (B3:C10:P8) Comparing a hinge and animal movement: “For now, though, to summarize: something initiates motion instrumentally when the starting point and the end point are the same, for instance in a hinge—since here the convex is the end point and the concave the starting point (for which reason the one is at rest and the other is moved), and though differing in account, they are inseparable in magnitude.” (B3:C10:P8)
Step 9: Summarize (B3:C10:P8-9) The real summary: “In general, as has been said, insofar as an animal is capable of desire, it is, in virtue of this, capable of moving itself; but it is not capable of desire without imagination. And all imagination is either rational or perceptual. And in this latter, then, the other animals have a share as well.” (B3:C10:P9)
The Parts of the Soul Basic Type of Soul Associated Imagination Associated Desire Associated Range of action Nutritivenone Growth and reproduction Perceptual Imagination in images Desire as appetite Local movement Rational Imagination in thought Desire as wish Long-range purposeful action