In his treatise, On the Soul (De Anima), Aristotle claims that every affection of the soul seems to require the body with one possible exception: reasoning. He claims that reason is the one affection of the soul that may not involve the body and would therefore be distinct from the body. If reasoning does not require the body, then there is at least one part of the soul that is separable from the body and can survive the death of the body. However, Aristotle states that if reason requires the faculty of imagination, which is an affection of the body, then reason too would be an affection of the soul that requires the body. Thus, if imagination requires the body in order to persist, and imagination is a condition of reasoning, then it can be assumed that reasoning also requires the body. Thus, the most pressing issue in interpreting Aristotle’s assessment of the separability of mind and body is deciding whether or not reasoning requires imagination in order to operate. In the paper, I argue that imagination is indeed a condition of reasoning due to the fact that we must form imaginative associations in order to conceive any object that is grasped through perception.
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