Comments on Aristotle & What is a human being?

by Bruno de Florence on June 22, 2014

Following the coffee talk of 21 June 2014 : Seminar 7 reading group

Aristotle puts in place differential elements between vegetals, animals and humans in DE ANIMA.

­Some automatic signifiers are in place in humans from birth or appear automatically shortly after birth:

the grip reflex (from birth), the turning away from bright light, the closing of eyelids under bright light,
the turning of the head towards a sound,
the turning away of the head from the breast when satiated.

­The inevitable return of theology and teleology in Science is discussed in: Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse, Mary­Jane Rubenstein Columbia University Press New York, 2014
ISBN 978­0­231­15662­2


Julia Evans has searched LacanianWorks for references to Aristotle. There follows some extracts from these posts. Warning: there is a large backlog of posts for the Reading Seminar VII Group & all the other categories, so there are other references to these questions in Seminar VII.

Notes on Seminar VII: 18th November 1959 : p1­7 : 15th September 2012 Reading Group Meeting or here

P5: Seminar VII: session of 18th November 1959

3rd paragraph, p5: I will give Aristotle an important place in my discussion, including particularly that work which lays out Aristotelian ethics in its most elaborate form, the ‘Nicomachean Ethics’. :

Background information summarised from Wikipedia: Aristotle (384 BC to 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of  Western philosophy, encompassing morality, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics.

Comments on the Nicomachean Ethics: This is Aristotle’s best known work on ethics. The work, which plays a pre­eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum, which were either edited by or dedicated to Aristotle’s son, Nicomachus. The theme of the work is the Socratic question which had previously been explored in Plato’s works, of how men should best live

Quote from page 5, Sem VII: There are two points in Aristotle’s work in which he shows how a whole register of desire is literally situated by him outside of the field of morality. Where a certain category of desires is involved, there is, in effect, no ethical problem for Aristotle. Yet these desire are nothing less than those notions that are situated in the forefront of our experiences. A whole large field of

what constitutes for us the sphere of sexual desires is simply classed by Aristotle in the realm of monstrous anomalies – he uses the term “bestiality” with reference to them. What occurs at this level has nothing to do with moral evaluation.

Comment:  There is repetition of desire which is outside and also of monstrous anomolies. These are both implicated in the reference to Freud, De Sade and Mirableau.