In contrast to what is often thought, the work
De spiritu is entirely Aristotelian. It provides an indispensable part of Aristotle’s philosophy of living nature. In this work he is the first Greek to argue that the most fundamental vital principle is not breath but vital heat. This vital heat forms a unity with the soul, as its instrumental body (
sôma organikon). The treatise is mainly a debate with Plato's
This new book consists of an Introduction, a Translation, and an extensive Commentary on the text of
The main value of this book is to show convincingly that Aristotle’s theory of soul and biology have been misconstrued since 200 AD due to the intervention of Alexander of Aphrodisias.
A.P. Bos (1943) has recently retired as professor in Ancient and Patristic philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He published
The soul and its instrumental body. A reinterpretation of Aristotle’s philosophy of living nature (Leiden: Brill, 2003) 427 pp.
R. Ferwerda (1937) did his Ph.D. on Plotinus. He published translations in Dutch of the whole of Plotinus, Diogenes Laërtius, Sextus Empiricus and several volumes of Aristotle.