Page:Aristotelous peri psuxes.djvu/218

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

208 NOTES. [BK. I. Note 10, p. 15. Whether all the emotions of Vital Principle, &c.] These passages shew clearly the suggestive power and perspicacity of Aristotle's intellect, and they point so clearly to doctrines which had yet to be developed, that they cannot be studied without feelings of surprise as well as admiration. The brain[1] was, in that age, supposed to be merely a supplementary organ to respiration; and, from its not giving out sensation when touched, and from imperfect anatomy, it was supposed to have no relation whatever with the sentient organs or spinal cord. The nerves, as cords of sensation, were unknown; the very term (νϵῦρον), which has been transferred to them as nerve, meant then tendon or sinew. Hence it is that, in modern languages, a man is said to be nervous in the one sense, and a delicate female to be nervous in the other. It was thus, from intuition and study, that Aristotle drew this train of suggestive reasoning upon the influences exercised over our passions and emotions by the organs of the body; that he discerned, that is, the seat and source of the temperaments. Bichat[2], having a far wider range of anatomical knowledge was able, by assigning to the brain and ganglionic system their proper offices, to distinguish intellectual faculties from passions and emotions, which although human, still are temperamental and functional — to distinguish, that is, the animal from the organic life.

Note 11, p. 15. In the same way all the emotions, &c.] These passages are quite in accordance with all that phy-

  1. De Part. Animalm, II. 7. 4.
  2. Recherches physiologiques.