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Aristotle and the Functionalist Debate


Author(s): Herbert Granger
Source: Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science, Vol. 23, No. 1 (March 1990),
pp. 27-49
Published by: De Gruyter
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Debate
and theFunctionalist
Aristotle
HerbertGranger

has been subjectIn thelastdozen yearsor so, Aristotle's


psychology
and of specialinteresthas been the question
ed to intensescrutiny,
withfunctionalism.
of its compatibility
HilaryPutnam,one of the
the
functionalist
debatethrough
foundersoffunctionalism,
sparked
his suggestion,made in passing,thatthereis an important
similarity
EdwinHartman
and Aristotle's
betweenfunctionalism
psychology.1
of Aristotleand arguedthat
codifiedthefunctionalist
interpretation
are
the
heirs'ofAristotle.2
functionalists
'philosophical
contemporary
Because ofthe influenceofPutnamand Hartmanit is now virtually
antica commonplace
thatAristotle
significantly
amongfunctionalists
Kathleen
Wilkes4
went
on
their
Martha
Nussbaum3
and
views.
ipates

1 'Philosophyand Our MentalLife',originally


publishedin 1975and reprinted
in N. Block, ed., Readingsin PhilosophyofPsychology(hereafterReadings),vol. I

MA: HarvardUniversity
Press1980)134-43,esp. 142
(Cambridge,

2 Substance,Body,and Soul: Aristotelian


(Princeton,NJ: Princeton
Investigations

Press1977),156-66
University

De MotuAnimalium
3 Aristotle's
Press1977),
NJ:Princeton
(Princeton,
University
Dualism:A Replyto HowardRobinson'(hereafter
'Du67-74,and 'Aristotelian
alism'), OxfordStudiesin AncientPhilosophy2 (1984) 197-207. Nussbaum has

a revisionofherfunctionalist
also offered
in an unpublished
interpretation
Mind',which
papershe composedwithHilaryPutnam,'ChangingAristotle's
attackon thefunctionalist
is a responseto MylesBurnyeat's
interpretation,
and in whichNussbaum'sinterpretation
of Aristotle's
is farless
psychology
in nature.A versionof thispaperis to appearin a collecclearlyfunctionalist
tionofessayson Aristotle's
editedby Nussbaumand A. Rorty.
psychology
is Nussbaumunambiguously
an adPerhapsonlyin herDe MotuAnimalium
herentofthefunctionalist
interpretation.
4 Physicalism
(London:Routledge1978),114-137

APEIRONa journalforancientphilosophyand science


0003-6390/90/2301
27-50$3.00Academic
& Publishing
Printing

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28 HerbertGranger

to backup Hartman,and recently


Marc Cohen5defendedthe functionalist
an
butunpublished,attack
interpretation
against influential,
Alan
has
Code
by Myles Burnyeat.6
recentlyjoined the antiinkeepingwithBurfunctionalist
forceswitharguments
substantially
forces
are
The
anti-functionalist
correct,but forthe wrong
nyeat's.7
have an imreasons.Boththefriendsand enemiesoffunctionalism
in
which
fundamentals
of
Aristotle's
'soul',
they
properunderstanding
taketobe thesamething.Theybothtakethesoul tobe a setof'powers'ofthephysicalbody,and theytakethese'powers'to be 'disposiof them.Instead,
tionalproperties'or at least close approximations
orevenas a 'thing'.
as a 'property',
Aristotle's
soulresistsclassification
and itstruenature,althoughunItis whatI shallcalla 'power-thing',
withfunctionalism.
clear,is clearenoughto revealitsincompatibility
Functionalism
inpurely
is thatmentality
is specifiable
ideaoffunctionalism
Thecentral
A mentalentity(objector state)is identified
terms.8
functional
bythe
Its roleis
causal roleit plays in the systemin whichit participates.
fixedbythevariouscausalrelationsitpossessesto othermentalentiintheformofphysicalstimuli,
ties,totheinputsfromtheenvironment
and totheoutputsin theformofbehaviour.Angermightbe a mental

ofAristotle's
5 'The Credibility
PhilosophyofMind',MohanMatthen,ed.,

Ideal of Science(Edmonton, AB: Academic


AristotleToday:Essayson Aristotle's

and Publishing1987),103-25.MichaelWedinprovidesthemostrecent
Printing
inAristotle
MindandImagination
ofAristotle:
functionalist
(New
interpretation
Press1988).
Haven,CT: Yale University

6 'Is An Aristotelian
PhilosophyofMind StillCredible?',a versionof whichis to
editedby Nussbaum
of essayson Aristotle's
psychology
appearin a collection
and A. Rorty.
of
in a collection
7 'Aristotle,
Searleand theMind-Body
Problem',forthcoming
essayson thephilosophyofJohnSearle,edd. E. LePoreand R. Van Gulick
(Blackwell).
8 On psychological
functionalism,
see, forexample:HilaryPutnam,'Philosophy
in Readings,
and Our MentalLife',reprinted
Fodor,'Explanations
134-43;Jerry
in America
M. Black,ed., Philosophy
in Psychology',
(Ithaca,NY: Cornell
Press1965)161-79;Ned Block,'Whatis Functionalism?',
Readings,
University
268-305.
171-84;Ned Block,'TroubleswithFunctionalism',
Readings,

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Debate 29
Aristotleand the Functionalist

remark
about
suchas an insulting
causedbyvariousstimulations,
entity
of
one's character,
and it itselfmightcause boththe contemplation
A
of
abusive
functional
and
the
utterance
specifilanguage.
revenge
to thekindofmaterialthat
cationofmentality
anyreference
prohibits
constitutes
the mentalentity.Angermightin factoccurin onlyone
butthisis a contingent
setofmaterial
conditions,
fact,nota necessary
ofitsnature.Whateverplaystheroleofangerin a sysrequirement
countsas anger,and
a biologicalora mechanical
tem,whether
system,
equivalenttoallother
providessimplyanothermodelofit,functionally
modelsof anger.
limitsmentality
tofunctionality,
itholdsthat
Becausefunctionalism
each mentalentityis theinstanceoftwo distinctsortsofproperties,
each mentalentity
or, in thelanguagemoreusual to functionalism,
sortsof'types':thetype(orpropety)that
is the'token'oftwodistinct
in functional
termsand thetypethatspecifies
specifiesitsmentality
itsmaterial
constitution.
The mentaland materialtypesarenotidentified.Therefore
functionalism
to
prohibitsthereductionof mentality
and mentality
retainsits immateriality.
In principle,the
materiality,
mentalentity's
materialconstitution
even'spiritumightbe anything,
al' material,
and thusmentalentitiesare 'compositionally
plastic'.Yet
all seriousformsoffunctionalism
are physicalistic,
and limitmaterial
to physicalproperties,
whichare theprimitive
properties
properties
ofmodernphysicsand theproperties
definedin termsofthoseprimitiveproperties.The physicalismof functionalism,
however,takesa
weak form.Weak physicalism,like strongphysicalism,limitsits
universeofdiscourseto physicalentities,
but,unlikestrongphysicalism,it does notlimitpropertiesto physicalpropertiesalone. Mental
arenon-physical,
properties
althoughmaterial
properties,
justas strong
will
be
restricted
to
maintains,
physicalism
physicalproperties.
offunctionalism
is thatthereareno (important)
Hence,a hallmark
conditionsformentality,
necessarymaterialist
althoughtherewillbe
sufficient
materialist
conditions.Physicalist
functionalism
holds that
thereare no specifically
conditions
for
necessaryphysical
mentality,
ofa broadalthoughtheremightbe somenecessary
physicalconditions
ly generalnature,just as a saw cannotbe made of simplyanything,
such as wool, but mustbe made of somethinghard and capable of
providinga cutting
edge. Therewillbe, however,physicalconditions
sufficient
formentality
in theformofthoseactualphysicalconditions
thatprovideformentality
in thosebiologicalkindsthatdo as a matter
offactdisplaymentality.
functionalists
Manyphysicalist
speakofthe
functional
of
as
properties mentality 'supervening'
upon thephysical

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30 HerbertGranger

thatprovidesufficient
conditionsfortheirexistence.'Suproperties
mean
thatthosephysicalconditions
seems
to
upon
pervenience'
merely
butnotneceswhichmentalproperties
superveneprovidesufficient,
and thatin any possible
sary,conditionsforthe mentalproperties,
worldin whichexactlythosephysicalconditionsobtainthenthose
model
obtain.9On thephysicalist
mentalproperties
toowillinvariably
must
functional
of functionalism,
always 'supervene'on
properties
which
are
sufficient
forsustaining
some set of physicalproperties,
them,althoughtherewillbe no setofnecessaryand sufficient
physicalproperties
properuponwhichtheymustsupervene.Thesephysical
and
ties will be configurative,
structural,
qualitative,quantitative,
the sortsof propertiesmostamenableto the
locomotiveproperties,
causal explanationsof modernphysics.
withvirtues,
and itis easytounderstand
Functionalism
justbristles
in thephilosophyofmind.Bewhyitenjoyswidespreadpopularity
cause itspecifiesthementalin purelyfunctional
terms,withoutmakconstitution
ofthemental,itpreserves
tothematerial
inganyreference
Yet
reductionism.
and itavoidsphysicalist
thelanguageofmentality,
viewthateveryentity
thephysicalist
can accommodate
functionalism
allowsthateveryentity
becausefunctionalism
is a physicalentity,
may
be physical.Some physicalentitieswilljustbe mentalentitiesas well
in theirphysicalsystems.Furbecause ofthefunction
theyperform
in its physicalistformis in a positionto
thermore,functionalism
varietyallows only
precludeCartesiandualism.Since itsphysicalist
of
there
into
its
universe
entities
discourse,
simplyareno dual
physical
natureto provideany
entitiesof a physicaland of a non-physical
betweenthem.Forexample,everycase
problemsabouttheinterplay
ofmentalcausationwilljustbe a case ofphysicalcausation,and thus
ofbodyand mindis perfectly
thecausalinteraction
explicableinterms
of physicalcausation.
The Soul and Dispositions
beliefofcurrentAristotelian
It is a well-entrenched
scholarshipthat
soul is a set of 'powers'takento be 'dispositionalproperAristotle's
ofthem,and thisbeliefis heldcommonly
ties'orcloseapproximations

111-2
9 Donald Davidson,'MentalEvents',Readings

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Debate 31
Aristotleand theFunctionalist

and anti-functionalist
forces.10
The primary
by boththefunctionalist
evidencefortheircommonview is Aristotle's
ofthesoul
description
in deAnimaas the'first
ofa livingbodypossessedoforgans
actuality'
(412a27-bl).WhenAristotle
explainswhathe meansby 'firstactualilooksmuchlikea disty'throughtheuse ofexamples,'firstactuality'
thecapacityforexercising
ormanifesting
a certain
positionalproperty:
incertain
Forexample,aftera manhas mastered
circumstances.
activity
theknowledgeofgrammar
he stillpossessesthat
throughinstruction,
knowledgeeven whenhe is notactuallyusingit,because he would
be capableofexercising
itwhenhe so choosesand nothingprevents
him.'Firstactuality'
is thiscapacity,whichAristotle
also describesas
a m/apii,
a 'potentiality'
or a 'power'.The soul forAristotle
includes
a farbroaderrangeof'powers'thanthe Cartesianconceptionofthe
mindallows.It includesthe'powers'forthefullrangeofvitalactivitiesthatorganismsof everykind,plantsas well as animals,engage
in: nutrition,growth,reproduction,locomotion,perception,and
thought.Thus all thesevitalactivities,
includingeven digestion,will
countas 'psychic'activitiesforAristotle.
Thereis hardlycompleteagreement
aboutthe
amongphilosophers
natureofdispositions.11
A dispositionis a capacityan objecthas for
a certainactivity
in certaincircumstances,
whichinclude
manifesting
someinitiating
causeand thepresenceofsuitablestanding
conditions.12
The solubilityof sugaris a paradigmatic
of
a
example
dispositional
property.
Sugardissolveswhenplacedinan adequateamountofwater
attwenty
and one atmosphere
ofpressure.The disdegreescentigrade
solutionofthesugaris themanifestation
ofitsdispositional
property
of solubility,
and the sugarpossesses thispropertyeven when it is

10 For just a few references,see: J.L. Ackrill,'Aristotle'sDefinitionsof Psucht,


reprintedin J. Barnes, M. Schofield, and R. Sorabji, eds., Articleson Aristotle:
4. Psychology
and Aesthetics(hereafterArticles),(London: Duckworth 1979), 67
('power7); Richard Sorabji, 'Body and Soul in Aristotle',Articles,43 ('set of capacities'); Hartman, 135 ('potential'); Nussbaum, De Motu Animalium,71 ('set
of vital capacities'); Wilkes, 116 ('the set of its characteristiccapacities'); Cohen,
104 ('set of capacities'); Wedin, 12 ('complex of related capacities'); Burnyeat
(manuscript),10 ('capacities' or 'faculties'); Code (manuscript), 10 ('primitive
causal power').
11 For my discussion of dispositions I am heavily indebted to Elizabeth Prior,
Dispositions(Aberdeen: Aberdeen UniversityPress 1985).
12 Prior,3

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32 HerbertGranger

notmanifesting
itthroughactivedissolution.Whatis commonto all
discussionsof dispositionsis the beliefthatthereis a logicallink
a dispositionto an objectand some
betweena statement
attributing
kind of conditionalstatement.Typically,the conditionalis a subactualnature.For example,the suggestionis
junctiveof a counterf
that
This lump of sugaris soluble'entails,and is
made
commonly
'If
this
entailedby,
lumpofsugarwereplacedin an adequateamount
of waterat twentydegreescentigradeand one atmosphereof pressure, it would dissolve'.
over the properanalysisof the conditional
Besides controversy
conone important
statement,
disputeoverthenatureofdispositions
cernswhetheranythingmoreamountsto the possessionof a disto the
oftheconditional
statement
positionthanthemereattribution
disposedthing.Some contendthattheremustbe somethingmore;
more.
othersthatthereneednotbe, althoughtheremaybe, something
and'phenomenalists'.13
'realists'
callsthesecontenders
D.M. Armstrong
is an example,contendthatthere
The realists,ofwhomArmstrong
the
mustbe some 'categorical
basis', a set of'categorical
properties',
of
the
These
for
the
which
allows
of
disposition.
possession
possession
involvedinbringarethegenuine'causalfactors'
properties'
'categorical
and
could
the
of
the
manifestation
about
dispositions
disposition,
ing
bases to
notenterintocausal explanationswithoutthesecategorical
ocbackthemup. The 'categorical
properties'are non-dispositional,
of
the
to
the
sort
most
serviceable
of
current
explanations
properties
and
modernphysics:structural,
qualitative,
quantitative,
configurative,
ofsugarmight
Thesolubility
ofphysicalparticles.
locomotive
properties
ofthesugar,the
basis themolecularstructure
have foritscategorical
possessionofwhichis a 'causal factor'involvedin thedissolutionof
the sugar.
to theview thattwo obseemsto be committed
Phenomenalism
the
same
have
could
categoricalpropertiesbut not the same
jects
mostfamousof the phenomenalists,
the
Gilbert
Ryle,
dispositions.
contendsthatthepossessionofa dispositiondoes notconsistin bestateor in undergoinga certainchange,
occurrent
ingin a particular
and he is even willingto embracetheview thata dispositionis not
a 'causal factor'involvedin the explanationof its manifestation.
of sugaris notthecause ofitsdissolutionbutthefact
The solubility

13 A MaterialistTheoryof the Mind (London: Routledge 1968), 85-8

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Debate 33
Aristotleand the Functionalist

thatsugaris thesortofthingthatdissolveswhenplacedin water,or


thefactthatthenormalbehaviourofsugaris dissolutionwhenplaced
in water.14
whichJ.L.Mackie15
calls'raThereis a thirdviewofdispositions,
is
an
and
of
Mellor16
which
adherent, probablyRom
tionalism',
Hugh
featureswithbothrealismand
Harr.17
Rationalism
sharesimportant
Likerealism,rationalism
requiresthatdispositions
phenomenalism.
be realor intrinsic
ofthedisposedobjectsand thattheybe
properties
causal factorsin theirown manifestation.
But,likephenomenalism,
topossesscategorical
bases.
rationalism
does notrequiredispositions
thatcanbe describedonlyina 'dispositional
style':
Theyareproperties
whose essentialnatureit is to tendtowardsthe
namely,'properties
manifestation'.18
corresponding
Somerealists,
ofwhomArmstrong
is againan example,wouldidenbasis,butrealismdoes notretifythedispositionwithitscategorical
A realist,likeElizabethPrior,arguesfora
quiresuchidentifications.
functionalist
of dispositions.19
Salt and sugarare both
interpretation
basesforthesolusoluble,buttheremightbe verydifferent
categorical
in each case is essentially
the same, and
bilityof each. Yet solubility
a functionalist
can
what
of
is essentialspecification solubility capture
the
same
in
such
a
the
both
cases.
On
view,
ly
dispositional
property
ofsolubility
in termsof
wouldbe a property
functionally
specifiable,
a particular
and itwouldbe a property
causalroleperformed,
thatsudifferent
on
the
bases
of
salt
and
The
realist
pervenes
categorical
sugar.
accountof a functionalist
naturefordispositionsprovidesthe best
model of the functionalist
of Aristotle'spsychology,
interpretation
whereastherationalist
accountofdispositions
providesthebestmodel
of the anti-functionalist
interpretation.

14 Concept
ofMind(London:Hutchinson1949),43, 45, 117-25
15 'Dispositions,Grounds,and Causes', reprinted
in R. Tuomela,ed., Dispositions
Reidel1978)99-107,esp. 103-4
(Dordrecht:
16 'In DefenseofDispositions',
in Tuomela,ed., 55-76,esp. 66, 68
reprinted
17 'Powers',reprinted
in Tuomela,ed., 211-33,esp. 229-30.Foran aggressive
defenseof powersin causal explanation,
see R. Harrand E.H. Madden,
Causal Powers:A TheoryofNaturalNecessity(Oxford: Blackwell 1975).

18 Mackie,103-4
19 Prior,82-95

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34 HerbertGranger

The Functionalist
Interpretation
of Aristotle
takesa weak physicalist
The functionalist
interpretation
in
of
the
of
functionalism
sort
form,
general,whichmaintains
typical
thateveryentity
butonlymaterialand notmental
is a physicalentity,
arThe functionalist
arephysicalproperties.
interpretation
properties
obconditions
not
that
but
sufficient,
necessary,physical
gues,then,
The evidence for the
tain for Aristotle'spsychic properties.20
in
is
but
it
consistsprincipally
functionalist
interpretationcomplex,
in
and
in
of
terms
of
Aristotle's
hylomorphism
analysis livingthings
intermsofartifacts.21
hishabitualtendency
to explicate
hylomorphism
A bronzestatue,perhapsAristotle's
mostcommonexampleofa subis a compositeofmatter
stancein his explications
ofhylomorphism,
itis itsmaterialnature,and its
and form:thebronzethatconstitutes
thepossessionofwhich
shape providesitsformalnature,a property
accountsforthekindofthingitis. Thissortofanalysis,thefunctionalistscontend,appliesmutatismutandisto livingthings:thebodyof
livingthingsis theirmatterand theirsoul theirform,whichis a set
ofthe
fortheappropriate
ofdispositional
psychicactivities
properties
in general,mightbe made of
livingthing.Since statues,or artifacts
and thusarecontingently
physicalmaterials,
anynumberofdifferent
thatactuallyembodythem,the
connectedwiththephysicalmaterials
credenceto
ofstatueswithlivingthingsgivesconsiderable
comparison
thefunctionalist
view thatthesoul oflivingthingshas no important
thefunctionalists
note,Aristotle
necessaryconditions.Furthermore,

thepartof voO
makeexceptionsforthe'activeintellect',
20 The functionalists
whichis a 'separablesubstance'
withthe'passiveintellect',
Aristotle
contrasts
and immortal
(deAn III 5, I 4, 408bl8-29),buttheyhold thattheessentialfeaof it. Hartman
froma consideration
can be abstracted
turesofhis psychology
materialthinksthatthedoctrineofvoprovidesan exceptionto Aristotle's
theism,and thatit is 'a weak spotin an otherwiseplausibleand well-argued
De MotuAnimalium,
oryof mentalentitiesand events'(7). In Aristotle's
of
reasonfordenyingthephysicality
NussbaummaintainsthatAristotle's
and findsitsrationalein his 'theoryof
to his psychology
thoughtis extrinsic
actionand responsibility'
(267-8).Wilkesarguesthatthedoctrineof theactive
and thatit emergesonlyas an
is inessentialto Aristotle's
intellect
psychology
and metaphysical
resultofhis 'ethical,theological
extraneous
preoccupations'
(115-6).
70, and in 'Dualism',
21 Cf. Cohen,104-5,and Nussbaumin De MotuAnimalium,
197-8.

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 35

maintainsthatthething,whetheranimateor inanimate,is neverto


be said to be itsmatter
butonlyitsform(MetaphZ 10, 1035a7-9),and
also on manyoccasionshe excludesthematter
ofa thingfromitsdefithat
the
definition
of
a
nition,holding
properly thingdescribesitsform
alone(e.g., MetaphZ 11,1037a21-b7).
Aristotle's
accountofsoul as the
formof a livingthing,the functionalists
surmise,requiresthatsoul
be independent
ofanyparticular
and
physicalorbodilyembodiment,
thusthatitbe 'compositionally
plastic'.Soul,however,mustbe found
in some kindofphysicalcondition(deAn I 1, 403al6-25),but thisis
a view perfectly
in keepingwithphysicalist
functionalism.
Thefunctionalists
dependuponthemanypassagesinwhichAristotle requiresthe materialembodimentof formto providethemwith
theirevidenceofthesufficiency
ofphysicalconditionsforpsychological properties.22
One oftheseis fromthefirstchapterofdeAn,which
is ofconsiderableimportance
because in itAristotle
laysthegroundworkforhisanalysisofthesoulindeAn(11,403a25-b9).
ThereAristotle
considerswhatthenaturalphilosophershouldbe concernedwithin
his analysisofthesoul or psychicproperties
generally:physicalmatteralone or formalone or thetwotogether.Ifone defines,forexample, angeras a boilingof theblood abouttheheart,thenone offers
onlya material,physicalaccountofthesortpresentedby thetypical
naturalphilosopher
ofAristotle's
time,whichis an accountanalogous
to thedefinition
ofa house as bricksand timber.On theotherhand,
ifone definesitas a desireforrevenge,afterthefashionofthedialeca definition
in termsofitsform,whichis analotician,thenone offers
to
the
definition
of
a
house
as a shelteragainstthe weather.
gous
Aristotleconcludesthatthe naturalphilosophershould make both
matterand formthe subjectof his psychological
and
investigations
thatbothare necessaryfora properand completeaccountof a psychic entity.
The functionalists
contendthatthispassage fromde An indicates
thateachpsychicproperty
has sufficient
because
physicalconditions,
in thispassage Aristotle
treatsthe physicalconditionsof angerand
itsformalnatureas iftheyweretwodifferent
aspectsortwodifferent
of
or
the
same
ways explaining describing
thing,anger.Therefore,
whenthephysicalconditionsforangerobtain,so too does angerand

22 Cf. Hartman, 49-51, 146-8; Cohen, 105-6; Wilkes, 117-20; and Nussbaum in De
Motu Animalium,72-4, 88, and in 'Dualism', 203.

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36 HerbertGranger

fromthe parallel
its formobtain.This impressiongathersstrength
drawsbetweenangerand thehouse,whichprovidesanother
Aristotle
The
significant
comparisonbetweenthe naturaland the artificial.
materialspecification
ofthehouse in termsoftimberand bricksand
itsformalspecification
in termsofshelteragainsttheweatherfurnish
that
can
ways
specifications
easilybe takentobe merelytwodifferent
ofspecifying
thesame thing,a house ofbricksand timber.The funcboostfromthefactthatAristotionalist
receivesa further
interpretation
a
tle'sformaldefinition
ofthehouse, as shelteragainsttheweather,
in nature.Ifwhatholdsforangerholdsforall the
is purelyfunctional
thenphysicallymaterialconditionswould
otherpsychicproperties,
because
conditions
forpsychicproperties.
Therefore,
providesufficient
inthe
functionalist
ofexamplesofthissorton materialembodiment,
concludesthatthesouloflivingthingsintheformofnonterpretation
physicaldispositionalproperties'supervenes'on a set of physical
for
conditions
butnotnecessary,
whichprovidesufficient,
properties,
the existenceof thosedispositionalproperties.
The Anti-Functionalist
Interpretation
and antiThere is importantagreementbetweenthe functionalist
thesoul as a setofdisposiforces.Theybothcharacterise
functionalist
tionalpropertiesof thephysicalbody. Theydisagreeovertheissue
and much
forpsychicproperties,
conditions
and sufficient
ofnecessary
overthemeaningofvaroftheirtextualdisputeconsistsin contention
and suffitotheissueofnecessity
iouspassagestheytaketobe relevant
better
be
can
them
between
But
the
expressed
disagreement
ciency.
The
basesfordispositional
overcategorical
as a controversy
properties.
functionalists
hold thatthe dispositionalpropertiesof soul are nonfortheir
somesetofphysicalproperties
thatrequire
physicalproperties
hold
that
anti-functionalists
The
base.
dispositions
psychic
categorical
base. Theydenythatthereis a set ofphysical,
requireno categorical
ofthe sortmostserviceableto modern
non-dispositional
properties,
which
could
basis,intheform
physics,
possiblyprovidethecategorical
forthedispositionsofthesoul, upon which
ofsufficient
conditions,
bewouldsupervene.Instead,psychicdispositions
thosedispositions
and
material
the
or
to
they
body,
physically
longdirectly intrinsically
ofthematerialbody.The antiare just additionalphysical
properties
functionalists,
however,do notdenythatpsychicproperties
require
such
Forexample,a transparent
conditions.
certainnecessary
material,

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 37

as air or water,mustbe availableforthe powerof sight,but these


could
arenotsufficient
fortheexistenceofsightand therefore
materials
antiit
with
a
base.23
on
the
Thus,
categorical
hardlyprovide
functionalist
view, two objectscould have all the same categorical
in theirpsychicdispositions.
propertiesbut differ
willjustbe dispositional
for
Psychicproperties theanti-functionalists
under
the
rationalist
theywillhaveno physinterpretation:
properties
ical categorical
base, buttheywillremainnone theless causallyrelevant.In factpsychicdispositions
fortheanti-functionalists
providethe
heart
of
causal
for
because
Aristotle,
very
theyprovide(or
explanation
of
areamong)hisfundamental
orprimitive
As
principles explanation.
of
Code especiallystresses,theyare intrinsic
Aristotle's
ingredients
ifnotmoreso, as theother
physics,whichare just as fundamental,
ofphysicalmatter,
suchas thehot,cold,
physicalproperties
primitive
chemical
ofAristotle's
dryand moist,whichfurnishthe differentiae
elements.24
willnotonlybe physical
Psychicdispositional
properties
ofmatteron theanti-functionalist
butthese
properties
interpretation,
call
as fundamental,
ofmatter
psychicdispositions
primitive
properties
formatter'ssimplybeingaliveor forhylozoism.25
Burnyeatvirtually
admitscrediting
tobring
Aristotle
withhylozoism,
wheninhisattempt
out Aristotle's
'deeplyalienconceptionofthephysical'he holdsthat
the'physicalmaterialofanimalbodies in Aristotle's
worldis already
with
consciousness'
and
is
On Burnyeat's
alive'.26
'essentially
pregnant
in
has
no
Aristotle
interest
the
view,
explaining emergenceoflifeand
consciousnessfromothermoreprimitive
propertiesof physicsand
and
The
of
life
consciousness
forAristotle
are alchemistry. powers
a
in
the
form
as
of
given,
readythere,
primitive
dispositional
properand itis theappealtothesethatexplainstheconstitution
tiesofmatter,
of the materialworld,the physiologiesof organisms,whichare the
way theyare forthe sake of the organismstheysustain.27

23 Burnyeat,
10 (manuscript).
24 Code, 7, 10 (manuscript)
25 Formoreon hylozoismand on current
who creditAristotle
expositors
explicitwithit,see: WilliamCharlton,'Aristotle
and theHarmonia
ly and implicitly
on NatureandLivingThings,(Pittsburgh:
ed., Aristotle
Theory',A. Gotthelf,
Mathesis1985)131-50,esp. 143-5.
26 Burnyeat,
6-7,14 (manuscript)
27 Burnyeat,
10, 14 (manuscript)

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38 HerbertGranger

an interpretation
ofpsychic
The anti-functionalists
offer,
therefore,
with
On the
is
functionalism.
which
hardlycompatible
dispositions
are
functionalist
psychicdispositional
properties noninterpretation,
in
which
principlemightbelongto any number
physicalproperties,
thathave a plasticity
of
ofdifferent
Theyare properties
physiologies.
becausetheyrequirefortheirexistencesomesetofphyscomposition
bases
fortheircategorical
ical properties
bases, and thesecategorical
can
comein a varietyofforms.No such plasticity
couldconceivably
because
their
anti-functionalists
hold
for
the
of
the
possibly
dispositions
bases to providetheircomposition.
dispositionshave no categorical
oftheirobjects,whichhave
are
themselves
They
physicalproperties
for
no dependenceupon someadditionalsetofcategorical
properties
no allowanceis made forplasticity
and therefore
theirconstitution,
of composition.
Code admitsthatAristotle's
The anti-functionalist
psychicdisposiofbody,
tionsarein'somesense'plastic.28
Sightrequirestransparency
whichmightbe providedby wateror by air,althoughas a matterof
factwater,accordingto Aristotle,
providestherequiredtransparenair
as
well
as water,and thusthereis this
inform
then
could
cy.Sight
a
this
is
But
of
only necessarycondition(as Burnyeat
degree plasticity.
forthe
and it is hardlysufficient
of
a
nature,
argues29) verygeneral
thefactthatsightmightbe in
existenceofsight.As Code maintains,
airorinwateronlyshowsthatsightis a 'power'thatmightbe indifferthe 'power'of
entkindsofmaterial.IfI understandCode correctly,
and
this
is
notexplicable
in
to
addition
is
needed
transparency,
sight
or
the
in
due
intermsof,or anyway
to, categorical, non-dispositional,
natureoftheairorwateras such,whichmighthave appearedto pronatureofsight.Code,
videa plausiblecandidateforthecompositional
thatno compositionofthe sortfunctionalis maintaining
therefore,
ism demandsis possibleforpsychicentities,in theformof a set of
ofthe
fortheexistence
sufficient
material,
properties
non-dispositional
of
the
kind
is
no
Since
entities.
acceptapossible
composition
psychic
ofthe
ofcomposition
therecan be no plasticity
ble to functionalism,
kindacceptableto functionalism.

28 Code, 7 (manuscript)
29 Burnyeat,10 (manuscript)

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 39

Soul and Tower-Thing7


inThefunctionalist
is wrong,buttheanti-functionalist
interpretation
in
is
too.
are
both
construterpretation wrong
They
wrongbecause,
soul as a disposition,
ingAristotle's
theybothconstrueitas a property
ofthebodyortheorganism.Bothinterpretations
areversionsof'psymind
theviewthatthe
is a property
(orset
chologicalattributivism/30
ofproperties)
ofthebody(orthehumanbeing),and nota 'thing',the
thattypically
typeofentity
providesthevaluesofthevariablesoffirstorderpredicatelogicor the subjectsoffirst-order
properties.Somethingpossessesa mind,notin theway in whichone thingpossesses
in theway,forinstance,in whichI have a watchin my
anotherthing,
pocket,butratherin theway in whichI have a cold. 'X has a mind'
is a monadic,not a dyadicpredicateon the attributivist
view.
ofthesoul, in particular
The causalagency
itscausal activity
as the
falsifies
unifying
agentofthematerialpartsoforganisms,
anyversion
at leastunderany conoftheattributivist
view,because properties,
are notcausal agentsor theperformers
of
temporary
interpretation,
causal actions.Rather,things,or the subjects
are causal
ofproperties,
not the propertyof striking,
strikesanother
agents.A billiard-ball,
A knife,nottheproperty
billiard-ball.
ofcutting,
cutsa pieceofpaper.
A tree,nottheproperty
ofcrushing,crushesa house in fallingon it.
of unity,unitesor holds togetherthe
The mortar,not the property
bricksof a house. A billiard-ball,
forexample,is not struckby the
and
of
but
which
mass,
by a secondbilliard-ball,
properties velocity
of
is whatexemplifies
and
when
it
mass
specificproperties velocity
Theproperties
billiard-ball.
ofvelocityand massofthe
strikesthefirst
are certainly
'causalfactors'in thecausal explanasecondbilliard-ball
tionoftheeventofthefirstbilliard-ball's
beingstruck,and theyprovide causal conditionsfor its being struck.But it is the second
thatactually
billiard-ball
strikesand actscausallyuponthefirst
billiardball.I do notwishtocontestthestandardpost-Humean
viewofcausality,whichholdsthattherelataofthecausalrelationare 'events',and
I thinkthatmyviewofcausalagencyconforms
withthestandardview
ofcausality.An eventmightbe, as JaegwonKimargues,a particular
at a particular
time:a's
thingor substance'shavinga certainproperty

30 My account of psychological attributivismdepends greatlyon that of Jonathan


Barnes, 'Aristotle'sConcept of Mind', Articles,32-41.

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40 HerbertGranger

But
beingF at t, such as, forexample,a tree'sfallingat midnight.31
neither
an eventnortheproperty
theevent
northetimethatconstitutes
is thesortofentitythatprovidesthecausal agentthatactscausally,
ofcausal actions.Instead,the
orforthatmatterprovidesthesufferer
thatconstitute
causalagentsand sufferers
arethethings
theeventsin possesand
bombs
which
are
the
entities
billiard-balls,
bullets,
times.It is probablytruethatevents
sion of propertiesat particular
are thecauses and effects
thecausal relation.Yet eventsno
flanking
actupon
moreactuponone anotheroruponthingsthando properties
Itis,however,alsoreasonabletomainthingsoruponotherproperties.
actsuponanotherone onlybymeansoftheevent
tainthata billiard-ball
acton otherthings
ofitsstriking
it,and thusthingslikebilliard-balls
or forwhichthey
onlythroughthe eventsor actionstheyperform,
providethe basis.32Consequently,it is because thingsact through
eventsthateventsarecauses. Therearetwosignificant
passagesthat
providegoodevidenceforthecausalagencyofformorsoulforAristoZ 17, 1041a32-b33
and de AnimaII 4, 415b28-416a9.
tle: Metaphysics
Z 17 is an important
corpusbeMetaphysics
chapterin Aristotle's
ruminations
on substance.In thischapcauseitcapshismostimportant
tothematerial
terAristotle
refers
bodilypartsofobjectsas 'elements',
and he maintainsthattheobject,be it a house, a man,a syllable,or
notonlyitselements,butalso something
someflesh,is 'something,
else' (1041bl6-17),which,he argues,is theformof theobject,what
withthematerial'elements',the'principle'ofthe
he calls,in contrast
moreto objects
Aristotle
arguesthattheremustbe something
object.
thantheirmaterialelementsifthereis to be anyunityin theobjects,
oftheirmaterialelementsintoa coherentwhole,such
anyunification
as a house,a man,a syllable,orsomeflesh.The agentofunitycannot
be anothermaterialpartbecausetheissue ofunityjustconcernsthe
ofthematerialparts.An appeal to anothermaterialpart
unification
fortheagentofunitywouldonlyraiseagaintheissue ofunityabout
toprovidetheunity.
thematerial
partpurported
partsand thatmaterial

31 'On the Psycho-PhysicalIdentityTheory', AmericanPhilosophicalQuarterly3


(1966) 231-2. As Kim maintains,most events would be more complex than the
sort of example I give, and would be a complex of things exemplifyinga complex relationalpropertyat a particulartime.
32 Things would provide the basis of events, at least on Kim's view, because an
event simply is a particularthing'shaving a propertyat a given time.

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 41

ofunitythatappealstomaterial
Thusanystrategy
fortheexplanation
the
is
for
of
regressof
parts agents unity setting stageforan infinite
introduced
material
to
Each
part
explainunitycalls
unifying
agents.
withtheinitialset
foranothermaterialpartto explainitsunification
ofmaterialparts,and so on in likefashionforeach materialpartinThematerial
troducedtoexplainunity(1041a32-b33).
partscannotthen
and
there
must
be
in addisomething
providetheirown unification,
be
of
an
tionto themto unifythem.Thismust something
altogether
naturefromthematerial
different
parts,so muchso thattheveryquestionofitsunitywiththematerialpartscould notpossiblyarise.This
agentis theformor 'principle'ofthething,whatwould be the soul
fromthematerialpartssugoflivingthings,and itsradicaldifference
different
'type'fromthem.Itemsofthe
geststhatitis ofan altogether
intelsame 'type'(or 'category')can be groupedor collectedtogether
to
ligibly.Theycan be so groupedbecause theyare itemscorrelative
features
one another,and suchitemsare thosethatsharesignificant
nature.33
oftheirfundamental
Onlyitemsofthesametypecan be unifiedintoa coherentwhole,becauseunification
requiresthattheitems
collectible
intoa group.Iftheycould not
to be unifiedbe intelligibly
stress
forma collection,
theycouldhardlyforma unity.ThusAristotle's
on thesharpdifference
betweenthematerialpartsand form,which
indidisallowsthequestionoftheirown unification
fromintruding,
in type.
cates thatthe materialpartsand formdiffer
Thereare fourrelatedpointsI wish to stressfrommy gloss of
Z 17. (1) Z 17 indicatesthatformis a real entity,which
Metaphysics
in additionto the materialparts,entersintothe compositionof obnotonlyitselements,but also somejects:theobjectis 'something,
its
which
would
be the soul of livingthings.(2)
else',
form,
thing
Becauseformis notto be confoundedwiththematerialparts,itis an
and thusnon-physical,
The object,however,is not
immaterial,
entity.
a
of
its
material
and
just composition
parts itsform,as ifitweresimthe
sum
of
its
and
its
whichwouldbe justanotheritem
form,
ply
parts

33 Foraccountsof typedistinctions,
see Bertrand
Russell,'Mathematical
Logicas
Based on theTheoryof Types',reprinted
in LogicandKnowledge,
ed. R.C.
Marsh(New York:Capricorn1971)59-102;GilbertRyle,TheConcept
ofMind,
in R.E. Allen,ed., Studiesin
7-24;GilbertRyle,Tlato's Parmenides',
reprinted
Plato'sMetaphysics
(London:Routledge1965)97-147;KurtGodei, 'Russell's
Mathematical
in D.F. Pears,ed., Bertrand
Russell:A Collection
Logic',reprinted
ofCritical
Essays(New York:Doubleday1972)192-226.

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42 HerbertGranger

coordinatewiththeparts.(3) Rather,form(or soul) is somethingof


a different
parts,and (4) itentersintothecomtypefromthematerial
of
the
not
as
an
additional
materialpartofthecompoposition
object,
but
as
the
that
the
unifies
sition,
agent
parts.(1) couldbe compatible
withattributivism,
to the
as long as 'composition'is not restricted
materialcomposition
ofthething;fora thingmightbe thoughtofas
a composition
ofitsmaterialpartsand thecomplexarrangement
that
Butcertainly
holdsbetweenthemas a complexrelationalproperty.34
would alAttributivism
(2) and (3) are compatiblewithattributivism.
low formtobe an immaterial
if
it
to
a
material
even
belongs
property,
a
of
and
since
attributivism
holds
that
form
is
subject;
property itssubit
insist
that
in
formdiffers typefromitssubject
ject, wouldcertainly
in justtheway anyproperty
in typefromitssubject.(4) rules
differs
however.Formcannotbe a property,
at leastas
againstattributivism,
areordinarily
construedtoday,becauseformis whatliterproperties
ofthematerialparts.Formas theagent
allyprovidestheunification
ofunification
is a causalagent,and itlooksthenmorelikea thingwith
thedispositional
orpowertobringaboutand sustaintheunifiproperty
noteven thedispositional
cationofthematerialparts.No property,
ofcausalpower,wouldactuallyunifythebitsand piecesof
property
a house,oranything
else,intoa wholeand sustainthatunitythroughoutthedurationofitsexistence.Rather,itwouldbe thingsthatpossess propertiesor powers thatwould fulfillsuch actions.It is the
to
house's woodenframethathas thepower,because ofitsrigidity,
ofrigidity.
and nottheproperty
holdtogether
thebricksand timber,
natureofsoul,
De AnimaII 4, 415b28-416a9
concernstheunifying
and itindicatesformuchthesame reasonsas Z 17 thatthesoul canofthebody.35Thispassage is especiallyimportant
notbe a property
ofitslocationin deAn and, moreimporbecause ofthesignificance
accountin de
in Aristotle's
tant,because ofitsoccurrence
important
of soul. In the passage Aristotleupbraids
An of the causal efficacy

34 A refereeforAPEIRONconvincedme ofthispoint.RichardSorabji,however,
maintainsthatno formcan be
arguesthatin thispassagefromZ 17 Aristotle
oftheleta component
ofwhatitbelongsto: forexample,the'arrangement
is notpartofthe
forSorabjiis a property)
tersB and A' (whichpresumably
syllableBA (48).
of thispassage to myatthesignificance
35 I am indebtedto Code forbringing
it (10,
abouthow to interpret
tention,althoughwe disagreeconsiderably
manuscript).

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 43

Empedoclesforhisviewthatplantsgrowupwardbecausethefirecommovesupwardand thattheygrowdownward
posingthemnaturally
becausetheearthcomposingthemnaturally
movesdownward.Empedoclesfailsto explainwhat'thingholdstogether'(t ove^ov)the
fireand earth(416a6),whichbecause of theircontrary
motionswill
it.Aristotle
contendsthattheagent
separateunlesssomething
prevents
ofunification
is thesoul,whichin itscapacityas theunifier
he identiand growthintheorganism,
fieswiththe'cause' ofnutrition
and thus
withthenutritive
soul (416a6-9).ForAristotle
all sublunary
bodiesare
air,earth,fire,and
composedofthefourelementsofhis chemistry:
water(GC II 8). Theseeach have theirnaturalplacesin theuniverse,
towhichtheywillnaturally
moveand thereremainunlesssomething
interferes.
Theplaceoffireis up ortheperiphery
ofthesublunary
realm
and thatofearthis down or thecentreoftheuniverse;airand water
havenaturalplacesbetweenup and down(deCeloIV 3-4).Livingbodies composedoftheelementsmustpossess soul, somethingbesides
theelements,
toholdtheelementstogether,
becauseotherwise
theelementswouldflyapartinpursuitoftheirnaturalplaces.36
Thesoulcannotbe a materialelementor a function
ofitsnaturalpowersbecause

36 Thus Aristotle
also says,whenearlieron in deAn he considerstheviewof
thosewho thinkthatthesoul has parts,thatit would notbe thebodythat
'holdstogether7
(auv^ei)thesoul, ifit did have parts,butratherit wouldbe
thesoul that'holdstogether'
thebody,'at anyratewhenthesoul departsthe
bodydissolvesintoair and becomesrotten'(deAn I 5, 411b5-9).MohanMatthenarguesthatthematerialelementswhenonce theyare incorporated
into
theorganismno longerstrictly
existor possess theirnature,at leastnotactiveand thustheywould no longerseek theirnatural
ly so, butonly'potentially',
places: 'IndividualSubstancesas Hylomorphic
Complexes',Aristotle
Today
174-5.I believethatMatthen'sview is correct,
and I believethatmyinterpretationconforms
withhis. The soul is what'holdstogether'
theelementsand
counteracts
theiropposingnaturesin itsorganizational
activity
duringthe
of theorganism;but it is also whatcontinuesto hold theelements
generation
of theorganism,so thattheydo notrevertto
together
duringthelifetime
theiroriginalnatureor exercisetheirlatentpotencyformotionto different
intervention
of thesoul (or form)
partsof theuniverse.It is onlytheconstant
thelifeof theorganism,whichkeepstheelementsin theirdorthroughout
mantconditionand fromexercising
theirdormantnaturesto seek theirnatural
placesand thus,by so doing,pullingthebodyapart.It is throughthissortof
constantintervention
thatthesoul maybe said 'to hold together'
thebodily
thelifetime
of theorganism.
partsor elementsthroughout

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44 HerbertGranger

it is justwhatcounteracts
theactionsoftheelementsin theexercise
oftheirnaturalpowers.Nor could thesoul be a specialcombination
oftheelementsbecauseitis justsuchcombinations
ofelementsthat
and no explanation
oftheircombination
standinneedofexplanation,
oftheirowncombination.
is achievedthrough
thepresupposition
Also,
thesoul cannotbe merelytheequilibrium
forgedthroughthetension
arisingfromthemutualoppositionofthematerialelements,and the
thatequilibrium.
This
heldtogether
justtheelements
through
organism
'Harwith
a
version
of
the
of
soul
Aristotle
would
credit
interpretation
and rejectsat
criticises
monyTheory'ofthesoul, whichhe explicitly
de An I 4, 407b27-34.37
itemthatprovidesfortheunification
Soul, then,is an immaterial
it
of thebodilymaterialparts,and in providingfortheirunification
lookslikea thingwiththepowerto hold themtogetherinsteadof a
On the otherhand, it cannotbe a
of them.38
dispositionalproperty
on a parwiththebodilyparts,
ontologically
'thing',whichis an entity
Z 17 clearlyindicates,itis an entityofa differbecause,as Metaphysics
we would orcharacteristics
enttypefromthem.Soul fits,therefore,
it
Like
a property,
also
to
a
to
a
and
property.
thing
dinarilyassign
in typefromthebodilypartsoforganisms,upon which,like
differs

theloss of thenature
37 Matthen'spointis especiallypertinent
here,concerning
intoan organism,sinceon the
oftheelementswhentheyare incorporated
theharviewofthe'HarmonyTheory'theelements,whentheyconstitute
moniousbalancethatmakesup theorganism,mustcontinueto maintainactheiroriginalnature.Theymustactivelymaintaintheirnaturesso that
tively
balancethroughtheiractiveoppositionto
theymayformtheirharmonious
one anotherwhentheycomeintocontactwithone anotherin thecourseof
naturalplacesin theuniverse.On Matthen's
theirpursuitoftheirdifferent
of
becausein theincorporation
view,suchoppositionwouldbe impossible,
theelementsintothematerialof theorganismtheelementswould no longer
existor wouldlose theirown nature.See note36.
strictly
of thesame
Furthperhapshold something
38 CharlesKahn and Montgomery
view. Kahnthinksthatthesoul, althoughnota 'separatesubstancein itsown
to be the'activecausal
character'
right',muststillpossess 'enoughsubstantial
substance:
the
of
for
the
that
is
compound
living
unity'
agent'
'responsible
in Articles
'Sensationand Consciousnessin Aristotle's
reprinted
Psychology',
fromthecompositeand notiden22. Furthholdsthatformis a 'being'distinct
tifiedwithit,becausehe takes'seriously'theroleof formas a 'causeofthebethecompositeit forms:'Aristotle
ing'ofthecomposite,whichmustpre-exist
on theUnityofForm',Aristotle
Today82, 84.

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Aristotleand the Functionalist


Debate 45

a property,
soul is existentially
ofits
dependent;and in illustrations
oforganismsitlooksin particular
likea
natureas the'firstactuality'
But,likea thingthatexercisespower,soul is
dispositional
property.
whatactuallyprovidesand sustainstheunification
ofthebodilyparts.
audience as a kind of
Thus the soul would strikea contemporary
an entitystraddlinguncomfortably
the classifications
'power-thing',
of thingand property.
The attributivist
does intermight,however,protestthatAristotle
in
pretform termsof property,but thatAristotle'sconceptionof
fromthatof contemporary
philosophybecause his
propertydiffers
allows
for
the
of
Yet thisdiffercausal agency properties.
conception
so muchso thatitmakes
ence overcausal agencyis a big difference,
it considerably
doubtfulwhetherAristotlereallyhas in mindwhat
a contemporary
audiencemeansby a property.Nor do I thinkthat
it is a good idea to interpret
formin termsof 'unitproperty'merely
to explainwhyformdisplaysthecharacteristics
ofbothproperty
and
to
thing.Unitpropertiesare thosepropertiesthatbelongin principle
would be, forexample,theparonlya singleobject.A unitproperty
ticularshapeofsphericity,
whichbelongspeculiarly
toa givenspherical object,and whichcan in principlebelongto no otherspherical
object,even thoughtheremaybe any numberof objectsof exactly
thesame (or exactlysimilar)sphericalshape. Unitpropertiesdo disof bothpropertyand thing.Theyresembleproplay characteristics
because
just
perties
they are propertiesdependent upon and
instantiated
bythings.Theyresemblethingsbecausein belongingto
a
rather
only singleobjecttheyappearto be, likethings,'particulars'
thanuniversalproperties.
The controversy
the
nature
of
concerning
Aristotle's
ofform
form,however,does notconcerntheparticularity
but insteaditscausalagency.The unsharability
and particularity
of a
unitpropertydoes not makeit any less a property,
and thereis no
oftheunitproperty
reasonto thinkthattheparticularity
would endow it withcausal agency.
tochargeAristotle
withsimplyconfusing
Moreover,I am reluctant
such
a
confusion
with
would explainwhy
although
thing
property,
formpossesses featuresthatbelongproperlyto thingand property.
A betterrecommendation
mightbe thatthe traditional
categoriesof
and
do
not
what
Aristotle
means
thing
property
adequatelycapture
form
In
his
account
of
form
he
be
to
(or
soul).
by
might trying express
thatmerelyeludesthesecategories,
and we shouldbe caresomething
fulaboutattempting
tofithisthoughtintosucha framework.
Besides,
thetraditional
of
and
are
not
immune
from
categories thing
property

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46 HerbertGranger

and thefaultforthefailureofan itemtofinda place


seriouscriticisms,
in thosecategoriesmaylie notwithit but withthem.39
commitAristotleto dualism?On
But does notmyinterpretation
is
a
entiAristotle's
organism compositeoftwo irreducible
myview,
matter
and
immaterial
form
tiesofdifferent
non-physical,
type:physical
(orsoul). Despitethedependenceofsoul uponbody,thesoul,on my
in itsown rightbecausein itsunifying
role
is an entity
interpretation,
suchan actionitmust
itactscausallyuponthebodyand inperforming
in itselfdistinct
fromthebody.Consequently,
be something
despite
dual
and
thesoul's dependence,soul
bodywould seemto constitute
and anti-functionalist
entities.Boththe functionalist
interpretations
avoid dualismbecausetheyeach takea physicalistic
form,inasmuch
as theyeach limittheiruniverseofdiscourseto thethingsthatserve
Thefunctionalist
ofphysicalproperties.
as theinstantiations
interpretationdoes allow thatsoul is an immaterial,
non-physical
property,
thatdependsentirely
but,sincethesoulis a property
upontheinstanforitsown instantiation,
the
tiationofphysicalcategorical
properties
takes a physicalist,although nonfunctionalistinterpretation
is unabashedform.The anti-functionalist
reductionist,
interpretation
to
be
another
the
soul
it
takes
because
physical
just
ly physicalistic,
materiof
its
and material,
physical,
property
dispositional,
although
to dualism,butnot
al subject.Myviewdoes indeedcommitAristotle
Cartesianvariety.Cartesianism
thetraditional,
requiresthatitsdual
entities,body and mind,be entitiesof the same type,'things'or
'Cartesiansubstances',whichareentitiesthatcan existindependently
Even thoughbodyand minddo differ
ofone another.40
considerably

and es39 Fora recentcomplaintaboutthecoherenceof thenotionofproperty


peciallyaboutitsinadequacyas a categoryof analysisforan evaluationof
32 (1987)288.
see: WilliamCharlton,'Aristotelian
Powers',Phronesis
Aristotle,
thatDescartes'sdual entitiesofbodyand mindare
40 Rylearguesconvincingly
entitiesof thesame type(Concept
ofMind,11-24).Descartestreatesbodyand
entitiesofthesame typewhenhe maintainsin thethird
mindas coordinate
betweena bodyas an exdifference
meditation
that,despitetheconsiderable
unextendedthing,'...they
tended,unthinking
thingand a mindas a thinking,
substances.'Thushe
to agreein this,thatbothrepresent
seem,nevertheless,
whatit meansto be an extended
maintains
thathe can cometo understand
on whatit meansforhimto be a substanceas a
substancesimplyby reflecting
mental substance: Meditationson FirstPhilosophy,fromthe PhilosophicalWorksof

vol. I, edd. and trans.E.S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross (Cambridge:


Descartes,
Press1977);165(reprint).
CambridgeUniversity

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 47

as physicaland mentalentities,theyare stillentitiesfundamentally


on a parwithone anotheror entitiesofthesame type.Theyareboth
thesubjectsofthefirst'things':theindependententitiesthatfurnish
ofextensionand cognition.
duorderproperties
Aristotle's
Therefore,
in typeand bealismis non-Cartesian
becausehis dual entitiesdiffer
cause the soul is existentially
dependentupon the body.41
Yet Aristotle's
dualismcan at least absolvehim of the chargeof
credithimwith,
hylozoism,whichis a positiontheanti-functionalists
and whichis also a positionhe perhapsexplicitly
regardsas false(de
An15, 411a7-15).42
and formaredualentities,
Becausematter
and since
offormendowsa thingwithlife,matter
can never
onlytheimposition
on itsown be alive,or everpossess essentiallyanyvitality.It is the
becompositeof matterand formthatis alive,and alive principally
cause of its possessionof its form(e.g., de An II 1, 412a8-9).
CouldAristotle
stillbe a functionalist,
perhapsofa non-physicalist
Formwouldbe somesortofnon-physical
and immaterial
envariety?
in purelyfunctional
terms.Thereare
tity,butstillperhapsspecifiable
twoobjections
tothissuggestion.
Thefirst
is thatAristotle's
metaphysics seems to be alien to functionalism.
The soul as a 'power-thing',
fitsthecategory
whichneitheraltogether
ofthingnorthatofproperty,
intotheontologicalschemeoffunctionalism,
is notreadilyintegrable
which is the traditionalontologyof thingand property,perhaps
dressedup a bitwiththelanguageof'token'and 'type'.Functionalismmakesallowancesfor'masses','events',and'states',butthescheme
of 'thing'and 'property'
can accommodatetheseeasilyenough.
Yet even ifthismetaphysical
objectioncould be overcome,there
is a second,and moreimportant,
objectionthatconcernstheissue of
is
in keepingwiththe
which
compositional
plasticity,
fundamentally
of
the
anti-functionalist
Functionalism
objection
interpretation.
requires
at least in principle,forthe psychological
compositionalplasticity,
but no (important)
entity.There are sufficient,
necessary,material

41 Muchmoreneeds to be said aboutAristotle's


varietyof dualism,butthis
wouldcall foranotherpaper.Fortwo recentinteresting
to credit
attempts
Aristotle
withnon-Cartesian
varietiesof dualism,see: HowardRobinson,
'Aristotelian
StudiesinAncient
1 (1983)123-44;
Dualism',Oxford
Philosophy
StudiesinAncient
Shields,'Soul and Bodyin Aristotle',
Christopher
Oxford
6 (1988)103-37.
Philosophy
42 Thisis how Charltontakesthispassage fromdeAn, 'Aristotle
and theHarmoniaTheory',145.

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48 HerbertGranger

conditions
fortheexistenceofthepsychological
and theseconentity,
ditionsareprovidedbyitsvariouscategorical
ornon-dispositional
bases
In
which
the
other
words,there
supervenes.
upon
psychological
entity
if
is thepossiis thepossibility
there
ofcompositional
plasticity
only
of
a
of
material
whichare
bility variety non-dispositional
properties,
and
each sufficient
forthe existenceof the psychological
property,
wouldprovideitwitha variety
ofsupervenience
bases.
whichtherefore
The anti-functionalist
however,does notallowforthis
interpretation,
The
sortofcompositional
plasticity. physicalsubjectmustpossessjust
in questionto be endowedwiththe apthe psychological
property
is a
nature.
Sincethepsychological
property
psychological
propriate
the
without
that
to
its
subject,
property belongsdirectly
dispositional
of
or
intervention
some
set
of
categorical non-dispositional
necessary
upon whichitwouldsupervene,no allowanceis madefor
properties
ofitssupervention
ofcategorical
thepossibility
properupon a variety
It is only
ties,whichwould provideit withcompositional
plasticity.
wherethereare categorical
properties
upon whichanotherproperty
ofplasticity,
oratleastplasticisupervenesthatthereis thepossibility
In effect,for the antity of the sort relevantto functionalism.
at leastin
thepsychicdispositionhas nocomposition,
functionalists,
material
theformofsomesetofcategorical,
propernon-dispositional
fortheexistenceofthepsychicdisposition.
ties,whichare sufficient
ofthesortrelevantto
ofcomposition
A fortiori,
thereis no plasticity
functionalism.
soul as a 'power-thing',
much
ofAristotle's
On myinterpretation
concernthesamesituation
holds,as itdoes fortheanti-functionalists,
The soul as a 'power-thing'
mustbe posing the issue of plasticity.
of its
sessed simpliciter
by the livingthing,withoutthe possibility
formsat thelevelofmaterialcompocomingin a varietyofsubstitute
materialcomposition,eitherin theformofphysicalor non-physical
is
It is ture,however,that,sincethesoul as a 'power-thing'
sition.43
existentially
dependentupon thematerialbody,itis conceivablethat
thesoul,evenas a 'power-thing',
mightbe dependentupon different
materialbodies,just as the soul on the anti-functionalist
interpretation,accordingto Code, is a powerthatmightbe foundin different

allowsforbothphysicaland non43 It oftengoes unnoticedthatAristotle


realm(e.g., MetaphZ 10,
physicalmaterialpartseven in thesublunary
H 6, 1045a33-4).
1036a9-10),

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Aristotleand theFunctionalist
Debate 49

materials.44
thisis notthesortofcomBut,justas Code also maintains,
relevant
to
functionalism.
Functionalism
requires
positionalplasticity
a
of
material
conditions
thatare each suffithe possibility
of variety
cientfortheexistenceofthepsychological
entityand upon whichthe
and
these
sufficient
materialcondientitysupervenes,
psychological
with
its
tionsprovidethepsychological
entity
compositional
plasticiviewcan therebe any
ty.On neitherminenortheanti-functionalists'
material
conditions
thatwouldprovidethecompositional
nasufficient
butat mosttherecan onlybe necestureofthepsychological
entity,
material
sarymaterialconditions.On myview,thereareno sufficient
conditions
becausethesoul as a 'power-thing'
is a distinct
immaterial
in itsown right;becausein itsunifying
roleitmustactcausally
entity
upon thebody,and thusmustbe somethingin its own rightother
thanthebody,despiteitsdependenceupon thebody,so thatitmay
itsown distinct,
act upon thebody.The soul, therefore,
contributes
immaterial
natureto theproductionof thelivingthingin addition
to
thelivingthing'smaterial
thebody(oritsmaterial
body.Consequently,
partsor itsmaterialproperties)simplycannotprovidethe soul with
sufficient
conditions
foritsexistence,
whichwouldprovideitwiththe
kind of compositionalnaturefunctionalism
requires.The soul as a
be
found
sorts
indeed,
might,
'power-thing'
dependenton different
ofbodies. Yet,sinceit is an immaterial
in
own
its
there
right,
entity
is no materialcompositionof it sufficient
foritsexistence,and thus
itcan haveno plasticity
ofmaterial
tothefuncofinterest
composition
tionalists.
Aristotle's
resists
assimiTherefore,
psychology
thoroughly
lationto the functionalist
framework.45
Departmentof Philosophy
WayneStateUniversity
Detroit,MI 48202
U.S.A.

44 Code, 7 (manuscript)
45 I presenteda versionof thispaperto the 1989Workshopin Ancient
whereI benefited
fromcommentson mypaper.
Philosophyat RiceUniversity,
ButI am especiallygrateful
to an anonymousrefereeforAPEIRONformany
abouthow to improvemypaper.I am also grateful
fora
helpfulsuggestions
1989NEH SummerStipend,whichprovidedme withsupportduringthecompositionof a portionof mypaper.

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