An emblematic case is perhaps the difficulty of conferring a systematic unity around Aristotle. I had previously pointed out that Aristotle was responsible for what Sorabji calls ‘crisis’, referring to Aristotle’s unfolding denying the faculty of reason to animals.
But there are at least two problems involved in this understanding.
👉 (1) The first is about preoccupation with the textual writing of the ancients. The constitution of a systematic and coherent doctrine was not an issue. A text may well contradict another, have a different style, defend another thesis.
Aristotle’s case brings up another problem: only his esoteric texts (with s), intended for the inner circle, lecture notes that Aristotle took to the Lyceum, and all the exoteric ones (with x), that is, texts intended for the general public, remained , they lost. The texts have a specific concern, to respond to the concrete situations created by the school debate.
👉 (2) The second problem is about the reception of his works.
The soul is presented with three main types of faculties: the soul of plants has the reproductive faculty; that of animals, perceptual and reproductive; and that of humans, the previous two, more rational, which we can call the Greek term ‘logos’, which also serves to express language.
The absence of logos on animals is also assumed by Stoics, but, unlike Aristotle, they associate their ethics: only those who hold logos have a relationship of justice. The rest is rest.
If for Aristotle, animals do not have the rational faculty, but they have the perceptive, what kind of faculty are we talking about? Is it just perception or are there other faculties involved?
Unlike the Stoics, Aristotle’s perceptual theory includes a type of memory, belief, perceptual appearance (‘phantasia’), the constitution of concepts, among others. The absence of logos does not mean that the remainder is unsophisticated.
Just as in the previous post I had only attributed that Aristotle denied animals reason, and Stoics only assume part of the stagirite theory, it seems that the way an author is appropriate says how sometimes we only keep what suits us.