Author Topic: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)  (Read 217 times)

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Offline RaphaCam

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Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« on: February 16, 2017, 06:17:34 PM »
One thing that I always found funny about Aristotle was how he believed plants to have souls (psyches), but only of the vegetative faculty, that is, as Aquinas explains, the "part" of the soul with generative, augmentative and nutritive powers (you can read more about it here), while beasts and men would have not only vegetative faculties, but also others.

So I was reading Galen and he opens his On the Natural Faculties arguing against the attribution of these powers to the soul, seeming to equate Aristotle's vegetative soul to nature (physis) and the other faculties to the actual soul. So plants would only live by their own nature, while beasts and men would have existence, growth and nutrition not due to their souls, but due to their nature itself, while reacting to stimuli and (in the case of men) thinking due to their particular souls.

So I thought: would Orthodox anthropology be more prone to Aristotle's or Galen's reading? I think Aristotle, but I don't recall anyone saying plants have souls or something, lol. I'm not trying to start a psyche x nous discussion here, but if you find it necessary to develop on that to answer the question better, feel free.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 06:38:41 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 12:10:44 AM »
One thing that I always found funny about Aristotle was how he believed plants to have souls
Why?

So I thought: would Orthodox anthropology be more prone to Aristotle's or Galen's reading?
Orthodoxy today? More similar to the followers of Descartes.

I think Aristotle, but I don't recall anyone saying plants have souls or something, lol.
Well the Fathers often just copied bits of Aristotle they were familiar with, St. John of Damascus's Fount of Knowledge talks about vegetative souls IIRC.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 12:35:39 AM »
One thing that I always found funny about Aristotle was how he believed plants to have souls
Why?
It sounded funny at first, I wasn't very experienced at philosophy so I didn't really get of what a soul is.

Quote
So I thought: would Orthodox anthropology be more prone to Aristotle's or Galen's reading?
Orthodoxy today? More similar to the followers of Descartes.
How so?

Quote
I think Aristotle, but I don't recall anyone saying plants have souls or something, lol.
Well the Fathers often just copied bits of Aristotle they were familiar with, St. John of Damascus's Fount of Knowledge talks about vegetative souls IIRC.
I'll look into that.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 12:36:08 AM by RaphaCam »
"Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia."

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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 12:43:07 AM »
Personally, I am much more of a Cartesian than an Aristotelian. I'm not into the whole sensory data thing, it's not positive evidence, just evidence I perceive. Evidence I perceive doesn't necessarily mean it is true or sound.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 02:53:40 AM »
I'm not into the whole sensory data thing
lol. Turn offs: Sensory data.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 02:53:53 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 02:56:23 AM »
How so?
Well even though Descartes wasn't as guilty of it himself, most Orthodox today think of the soul as the mind, and the mind as a sort of all-purpose inner movie screen where data from God, demons and sensory representations shows up.

So when a modern Orthodox hears "deny the logismoi" they read it against a background that turns it into "don't look at the evil data that pops up on the inner movie screen."

I think this is not so true and not what Orthodox or Catholics or anybody else used to think. We can't go back to how they thought, but we can maybe do better than the movie screen.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 03:00:26 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 03:02:23 AM »
Sensory data sounds good, I don't really know this subject in depth, but I recall reading that leaving it behind was the first step for Aquinas to put men as lower than the angels.
"Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia."

Please pray for myself, my family and my friends.

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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 03:31:46 AM »
Sensory data sounds good, I don't really know this subject in depth, but I recall reading that leaving it behind was the first step for Aquinas to put men as lower than the angels.
I don't think he believed in Sensory Data, nor did he know he didn't believe in it.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 03:32:01 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Online rakovsky

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 05:27:04 AM »
So I was reading Galen and he opens his On the Natural Faculties arguing against the attribution of these powers to the soul, seeming to equate Aristotle's vegetative soul to nature (physis) and the other faculties to the actual soul. So plants would only live by their own nature, while beasts and men would have existence, growth and nutrition not due to their souls, but due to their nature itself, while reacting to stimuli and (in the case of men) thinking due to their particular souls.

This is the first known appearance of the word physis:
Quote
ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας πόρε φάρμακον ἀργεϊφόντης ἐκ γαίης ἐρύσας, καί μοι φύσιν αὐτοῦ ἔδειξε.
(So saying, Argeiphontes [=Hermes] gave me the herb, drawing it from the ground, and showed me its nature.)
Homer in The Odyssey 10.302-3 (ed. A.T. Murray).
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 05:28:09 AM by rakovsky »

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2017, 01:25:36 PM »
One thing that I always found funny about Aristotle was how he believed plants to have souls (psyches), but only of the vegetative faculty, that is, as Aquinas explains, the "part" of the soul with generative, augmentative and nutritive powers (you can read more about it here), while beasts and men would have not only vegetative faculties, but also others.

So I was reading Galen and he opens his On the Natural Faculties arguing against the attribution of these powers to the soul, seeming to equate Aristotle's vegetative soul to nature (physis) and the other faculties to the actual soul. So plants would only live by their own nature, while beasts and men would have existence, growth and nutrition not due to their souls, but due to their nature itself, while reacting to stimuli and (in the case of men) thinking due to their particular souls.

So I thought: would Orthodox anthropology be more prone to Aristotle's or Galen's reading? I think Aristotle, but I don't recall anyone saying plants have souls or something, lol. I'm not trying to start a psyche x nous discussion here, but if you find it necessary to develop on that to answer the question better, feel free.

From another thread...

"The soul has three powers: first, the power of nourishment and growth; second, that of imagination and instinct; third, that of intelligence and intellect. Plants share only in the first of these powers, animals share in the first and second only, and men share in all three." - St Maximos the Confessor (quoted in: Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, [Light and Life Publishing Company, 1992], p. 51; originally in: The Philokalia, Vol. 2, p. 88)

For more of that discussion: Do Plants Have Souls?
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Physis and psyche (no, it's not another Chalcedon thread)
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2017, 07:18:05 PM »
One thing that I always found funny about Aristotle was how he believed plants to have souls (psyches), but only of the vegetative faculty, that is, as Aquinas explains, the "part" of the soul with generative, augmentative and nutritive powers (you can read more about it here), while beasts and men would have not only vegetative faculties, but also others.

So I was reading Galen and he opens his On the Natural Faculties arguing against the attribution of these powers to the soul, seeming to equate Aristotle's vegetative soul to nature (physis) and the other faculties to the actual soul. So plants would only live by their own nature, while beasts and men would have existence, growth and nutrition not due to their souls, but due to their nature itself, while reacting to stimuli and (in the case of men) thinking due to their particular souls.

So I thought: would Orthodox anthropology be more prone to Aristotle's or Galen's reading? I think Aristotle, but I don't recall anyone saying plants have souls or something, lol. I'm not trying to start a psyche x nous discussion here, but if you find it necessary to develop on that to answer the question better, feel free.

From another thread...

"The soul has three powers: first, the power of nourishment and growth; second, that of imagination and instinct; third, that of intelligence and intellect. Plants share only in the first of these powers, animals share in the first and second only, and men share in all three." - St Maximos the Confessor (quoted in: Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, [Light and Life Publishing Company, 1992], p. 51; originally in: The Philokalia, Vol. 2, p. 88)

For more of that discussion: Do Plants Have Souls?
Thanks, very helpful. Not surprising that he followed Aristotle strictly in that sense, but I wonder whether a Hebrew OT sage would say plants have a nephesh. Better ask a Jew.  :P
"Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia."

Please pray for myself, my family and my friends.

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese). Last article: Fontes de fé da Igreja Ortodoxa