Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker-Zentrum

Text and Idea of Aristotle's Science of Living Things (TIDA)

Upcoming Event

End of Semester Retreat (only TIDA members):

July 28th 2023, 10am - 4:30pm

About the Project

This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2021 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement No. 101053296).​​​

TIDA is devoted to a new overall interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of mental phenomena. TIDA’s central idea is to break with the interpretive approach that governed research on Aristotle’s so-called ‘psychological’ writings, and in particular the research on his famous treatise ‘On the Soul (De anima)’, for more than half a century. On that approach, the De anima presents us with Aristotle’s ‘philosophy of mind’. Against this trend, TIDA aims to show that the De anima is not concerned with philosophy of mind but with the definition of the first principle of a much more comprehensive general science of living things. TIDA aims to show how the De anima defines that first principle (the ‘soul’ psukhê), how it structures the science of living things and how it divides explanatory labor with the other treatises that pertain to that science. Last but not least TIDA aims to ascertain what Aristotle’s scientific theory of living things has to say about the phenomena of the mental. Thus, TIDA wishes to bring out how Aristotle understands the issues and problems of the philosophy of mind from his own biological perspective.

Read more about TIDA’s research hypotheses.

TIDA’s methods are decidedly philosophical-cum-philological. Two objectives are pursued in tandem: subjecting Aristotle’s treatise on the soul, the De anima, and related treatises, to a new and comprehensive philosophical interpretation, while making available the original Greek text in a way that complies with the standards of contemporary textual criticism. TIDA will produce a reliable critical edition of the De anima, both in print and digital. Astoundingly, such an edition still does not exist. As the constitution of the text will crucially depend on the philosophical evaluation of alternative manuscript readings, only the closest collaboration between textual critics and philosophers will yield progress for this aim.

TIDA will produce improved original texts and a new and more informative philosophical perspective on Aristotle on the mind. TIDA consists in a five-year interdisciplinary research team designed to give future philosophical and philological work on Aristotle’s science of living things a new foundation.