The Summa Genera Soul

‘The first thing necessary is no doubt to determine under which of the summa genera soul comes and what it is; I mean, whether it is a particular thing, i.e. substance, or is quality or is quantity, or falls under any other of the categories already determined. We must further ask whether it is amongst things potentially existent or is rather a sort of actuality, the distinction being all-important. Again, we must consider whether it is divisible or indivisible; whether, again, all and every soul is homogeneous or not; and, if not, whether the difference between the various souls is a difference of species or a difference of genus: for at present discussions and investigations about soul would appear to be restricted to the human soul. We must take care not to overlook the question whether there is a single definition of soul answering to a single definition of animal; or whether there is a different definition for each separate soul, as for horse and dog, man and god: animal, as the universal, being regarded either as non-existent or, if existent, as logically posterior. This is a question which might equally be raised in regard to any other common predicate. Further, on the assumption that there are not several souls, but merely several different parts in the same soul, it is a question whether we should begin by investigating soul as a whole or its several parts. And here again it is difficult to determine which of these parts are really distinct from one another and whether the several parts, or their functions, should be investigated first. Thus, e.g., should the process of thinking come first or the mind that thinks, the process of sensation or the sensitive faculty? And so everywhere else. But, if the functions should come first, again will arise the question whether we should first investigate the correlative objects. Shall we take, e.g., the sensible object before the faculty of sense and the intelligible object before the intellect?’

– Rand. B. 1912. The Classical Psychologists: Selections Illustrating Psychology from Anaxagoras to Wundt Boston, United States: Houghton Mifflin Company (1912) p. 2-3


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