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What the soul is

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We say that substance is one of the genera of things (Aristotle’s ten categories), and that it is divided (as simple) into two parts: the one as matter, that which in itself it is not such and such a thing (for it is deprived of the form), the other as shape and form, according to which a thing when it receives its form is called a certain ‘this’; and thirdly (as compound) in the sense of that which is compounded of these. Now matter is potency while form complete reality (perfection and completion). The latter in two ways: either as knowledge is (i.e. as state), or as theorizing is (i.e. as actuality). Bodies seem to be, for the most part, substances, and especially the natural bodies; for they are principles of all other bodies (i.e. of both artificial and mathematical bodies). Of natural bodies some have life in them, others not; by life we mean self-nutrition and increase and diminution. Thus every natural body which has life in it is a substance in the sense of a compound.

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