Philosophy Faculty Publications

Title

Aristotle on the Starting-Point of Motion in the Soul

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Publication Source

Phronesis

Abstract

In Eudemian Ethics 8.2, Aristotle posits god as the starting-point of non-rational desire (particularly for the naturally fortunate), thought, and deliberation. The questions that dominate the literature are: To what does ‘god’ refer? Is it some divine-like entity in the soul that produces thoughts and desires or is it Aristotle’s prime mover? And how does god operate as the starting-point of these activities? By providing a careful reconstruction of the context in which god is evoked, I argue against the popular deflationary reading of ‘god’, showing why Aristotle’s prime mover must be the end of these natural activities, and how it serves as a final cause for the rational and desirative parts of the soul.

I contend that EE 8.2 provides evidence against the traditional notion that god operates as a final cause by drawing natural potentialities to their completion, and suggests instead that it serves as a final cause by entering into the explanation of natures and natural activities as their ultimate end.

Inclusive pages

358-379

ISBN/ISSN

0031-8868

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

Koninklijke Brill

Volume

57

Issue

4

Peer Reviewed

yes