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Section 8

8. It can be shown also that the intellectual act would similarly be impossible if the soul were any form of body.

If sensation is apprehension by means of the soul's employment of the body, intellection cannot be a similar use of the body or it would be identical with sensation. If then intellection is apprehension apart from body, much more must there be a distinction between the body and the intellective principle: sensation for objects of sense, intellection for the intellectual object. And even if this be rejected, it must still be admitted that there do exist intellections of intellectual objects and perceptions of objects not possessing magnitude: how, we may then ask, can a thing of magnitude know a thing that has no magnitude, or how can the partless be known by means of what has parts? We will be told "By some partless part." But, at this, the intellective will not be body: for contact does not need a whole; one point suffices. If then it be conceded- and it cannot be denied- that the primal intellections deal with objects completely incorporeal, the principle of intellection itself must know by virtue of being, or becoming, free from body. Even if they hold that all intellection deals with the ideal forms in Matter, still it always takes place by abstraction from the bodies [in which these forms appear] and the separating agent is the Intellectual-Principle. For assuredly the process by which we abstract circle, triangle, line or point, is not carried through by the aid of flesh or Matter of any kind; in all such acts the soul or mind must separate itself from the material: at once we see that it cannot be itself material. Similarly it will be agreed that, as beauty and justice are things without magnitude, so must be the intellective act that grasps them.

When such non-magnitudes come before the soul, it receives them by means of its partless phase and they will take position there in partless wise.

Again: if the Soul is a body, how can we account for its virtues- moral excellence [Sophrosyne], justice, courage and so forth? All these could be only some kind of rarefied body [pneuma], or blood in some form; or we might see courage as a certain resisting power in that pneuma; moral quality would be its happy blending; beauty would lie wholly in the agreeable form of impressions received, such comeliness as leads us to describe people as attractive and beautiful from their bodily appearance. No doubt strength and grace of form go well enough with the idea of rarefied body; but what can this rarefied body want with moral excellence? On the contrary its interest would lie in being comfortable in its environments and contacts, in being warmed or pleasantly cool, in bringing everything smooth and caressing and soft around it: what could it care about a just distribution?

Then consider the objects of the soul's contemplation, virtue and the other Intellectual forms with which it is occupied; are these eternal or are we to think that virtue rises here or there, helps, then perishes? These things must have an author and a source and there, again, we are confronted by something perdurable: the soul's contemplation, then, must be of the eternal and unchanging, like the concepts of geometry: if eternal and unchanging, these objects are not bodies: and that which is to receive them must be of equivalent nature: it cannot therefore be body, since all body-nature lacks permanence, is a thing of flux.

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