Peut-on avoir la vie en puissance? Sur la cohérence du κοινότατος λόγος de l’âme

Jorge Mittelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aristotle's broad characterization of the soul has been challenged on account of its reliance on the notion of a "potentially alive body". J. L. Ackrill famously claimed that no body can meet this description without being already actually alive. By a close inspection of both metaphysical and embryological texts, this paper argues that (1) it is embryos (and not fully-formed organic bodies) who provide the right kind of potentially alive subjects and that (2) the schematic character of the soul's common formula accounts for its seemingly intractable features. It also holds that (3) once the homonymous nature of life is brought into the picture, the ΚοΙΝóτΑτος ΛóΓος appears unproblematic - at least for some of its most troublesome instances.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)297-331
Number of pages35
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2019.


  • Aristotle
  • embryology
  • hylomorphism
  • potentiality
  • power
  • soul

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