Aristotle, De Anima

C.D.C. Reeve (tr., ed.), Aristotle, De Anima, Hackett, 2017, 227 pp., $22.00 (pbk), ISBN 9781624666193.

Reviewed by Caleb Cohoe, Metropolitan State University of Denver

This is an excellent translation of Aristotle’s De Anima or On the Soul, part of C.D.C. Reeve’s impressive ongoing project of translating Aristotle’s works for the New Hackett Aristotle. Reeve’s translation is careful and accurate, committed to faithfully rendering Aristotle into English while making him as readable as possible. This edition features excellent notes that will greatly assist readers (especially in their inclusion of related passages that illuminate the sections they annotate) and an introduction that situates the work within Aristotle’s scientific method and his overall view of reality.

Reeve’s introduction discusses the status of Aristotle’s science of the soul. His treatment is not merely an overview of this topic but a significant and welcome contribution to current scholarship on the scientific status of Aristotle’s psychology. Reeve says, correctly, that Aristotle’s “science of soul” has “its feet in botany and its head in theology.” (xxviii) It includes the principle by which plants live, but it also covers the understanding (ho nous), which can know all things, including Aristotle’s divine being. Reeve, unlike many contemporary Aristotle scholars, acknowledges that Aristotle is, in fact, committed to the view that the understanding is a power that is not the form of any part of the body, but instead has its own activity, one that is separable from the human body.

Read the review here.

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