Aristotle Class Spring 2017 Second paper topics.

Please choose one (and only one) of the following topics and write a double-spaced 7-10 page paper, which you should submit through Turnitin by the end of the day Friday 10 March. Please be sure to number your pages and refer to passages from Aristotle by the title of the work, book and chapter numbers and Bekker page and line numbers; these references can be enclosed in parentheses at the end of the sentence in which you refer to Aristotle.
1. In book I, ch. 1 of the De anima (On the Soul) lays out the plan of inquiry he intends to follow as he investigates the soul. In the first chapter of the second book he presents, with variations, a general formula or definition of the soul as “the first actuality of a natural body which has life potentially” (II, 1 412a27). Drawing especially on these two chapters, explain Aristotle’s conception of the soul by unpacking this formula or definition. Questions that you will want to tackle include: how is this definition related to Aristotle’s views about form and matter, potentiality and actuality, a thing’s nature, the agent and patient of change? What is meant by first actuality? Does Aristotle think the soul is material or immaterial? You may want to bring in some of the faculties of the soul, e.g., nutrition and perception to illustrate your argument.

2. In Metaphysics IV (Gamma) Aristotle asserts that there is a science of being qua being or being as such that is different from any of the special sciences (each of which has its own domain marked off from that of others). Though Aristotle does not use this terminology himself, tradition calls this science ‘general metaphysics’. What is this science and how does Aristotle argue for its existence. Be sure to explain the use he makes of the analogy to the ‘medical’ and the ‘healthy’, terms which though employed in a variety of ways with a range of meanings are used with reference to one single thing (or focal meaning). How does the analogy apply to ‘being’ and what is the one thing with reference to which we speak of ‘being’? (Do not forget what we learned about the categories.) Give some examples of the general issues studied by general metaphysics, but presupposed by the special sciences.

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