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A Knowing Noos and a Slippery Psyche: Jaynes's Recipe for an Unnatural Theory of Consciousness

Scott Greer
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (Julian Jaynes Society, 2006).


... Jaynes notes that in Book I, Aristotle discussed and rejected each of the previous attempts to define psyche, including those by Democritus, Anaxagoras, Plato, and Heraclitus. Each writer had attempted to describe the soul in terms of movement and sensation, but encountered difficulties, according to Aristotle, because psyche was regarded as an independent or separate entity. Aristotle concluded that the soul was not some type of matter or combination of matter, but was, '... the first grade of actuality of a natural body having life potentially in it.' Jaynes underlined this passage and highlighted the following points in Aristotle's elaboration ...