In On the Soul, Aristotle approached the concept of the soul from an essentially scientific perspective, employing elements of biology and metaphysics that encompassed everything from the concepts of substance, form, and matter, to those of potentiality and actuality. While Christians and other religious faiths have traditionally deemed the soul to be an immortal entity that lives on after physical death, Aristotle viewed the soul as united with the living body, and therefore unable to exist without a host. From his perspective, a soul is created merely for the purpose of development, which is only possible through the soul's connection with a body or some other type of container in the physical world. Therefore if the soul is presumed to exist as the form of a body, the essence of the soul is then dependent on the body, or at least some entity that could be given life by it, for its own existence. Thus Aristotle purported that because a soul designates life, then every living thing, including animal and plant life, has a soul. From a broad perspective, this would mean that the ability to think and reason is not part of the requisite makeup of a soul, nor are the faculties of belief or emotion. However within Aristotle's premise of all living things possessing souls, he explains that different entities possess different versions. He believed that what distinguishes the human soul from the animal or plant soul was its ability to hold rational beliefs and to exercise reason.
By classifying life into different levels, Aristotle was able to categorize plants as having the lowest level of soul, animals other than humans as having a higher level of soul, and humans, because of their capacity for reason, possessed the greatest soul. Therefore, according to Aristotle the human soul is a reward based on the sum total of our biological nature... [continues]
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