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Digital Dialogue
Digital Dialogue
Digital Dialogue 45: Soul and Substance

For episode 45 of the Digital Dialogue, I am joined by Josh Hayes who is currently a Lecturer at Santa Clara University. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University and Post-doctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University and he graduated with his PhD from the New School in 2005.

His scholarship focuses upon Aristotle, particularly the history of Aristotelian interpretation in the Western and Islamic traditions, and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.
His recent publications include “Being-Affected: The Pathos of Truth,” in Interpreting Heidegger: Critical Essays (Cambridge University Press), “Deconstructing Dasein: Heidegger’s Earliest Interpretations of Aristotle’s De Anima,” published in The Review of Metaphysics 61 (December 2007), and “Heidegger, Aristotle,and Animal Life,” Philosophy Today (2007).

He joins me on the Digital Dialogue today to discuss his essay: Being Ensouled: The Role of Desire as an Efficient Cause in Aristotle’s De Anima.


  • dirkusa says:

    hi there, I enjoyed this exchange on the animating powers of desire in Aristotle but remain confused (given the various antifoundationalisms and recent developments in our understandings of cognitive biases/distortions) as to why the onus of 'proof' is on those of us (evolutionary/radical-behaviorist/post-phenomenological pragmatists) in the skeptical (in Cavell's sense) camp rather than on those who would revive a 'natural' (catholic?) fit between us (language using critters that we are) and our environs/co-inhabitants.

  • Dirk, your point is very well taken regarding the onus of proof, although I am not sure what you intend by associating the "naturalism" I attempt to articulate with the "catholic," unless it is to emphasize that it is universal in extent.
    It is probably misguided of me to speak here of an "onus of proof." But the point I was trying to make was made by John Smith very beautifully in his 1971 Presidential Address to the Metaphysical Society of America, published in the Review of Metaphysics, XXIV, 4, Issue No. 96, 1971, when he questioned the claim that "articulation is somehow alien to Being in the sense that passage from the immediate via signs and meanings inevitably distorts, impoverishes and, in some fundamental way, transforms it beyond recognition" (594).
    He goes on to insist that "there is no ground for extending the specific failures of articulation to the claim that it is alien to Being as such" (594). I don't think you are suggesting with the skepticism of Cavell, that articulation is alien to Being, but I find Smith's approach compelling. He thinks that the palpable connections we have with the things we encounter are at the root of whatever recognition we can have of our disconnectedness.
    To be clear, this approach leaves plenty of room for skepticism and for the recognition of bias and distortion. Indeed, my position is that bias and distortion are also endemic to our relationships with things and one another, but the recognition of distortion and the failure of our attempts at articulation are rooted in our fundamental ability to respond together with the things we encounter: rooted in with what I call in the Aristotle book on truth, our co-response-ability.

  • dirkusa says:

    thanks for this generous reply to my rather dense (opaque) question, I wouldn't put it in some absolute/metaphysical way/Derridean way, but I think that there is much that always/already exceeds our grasp and that (following Rorty/Davidson) our linguistic attempts are not grounded in anything extra-social/human and to some degree (after Cavell/Wittgenstein) always fail to mean what we mean to say (with people we can have ongoing negotiations/clarifications), so certainly contingent/accidental in if not "alien" to Being.
    It would help if you could flesh-out the "palpable connections" part and in particular what are the response-abilities of the non-human elements of the world as opposed to their relatively stable aspects. By making this a mutual affair you sound a bit panpsychic/theist, or at least to be venturing into the speculative realist world but that is a kind of surreal physics that I don't think that you intend.

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