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Whence the serpent's motion begins, as if from a principle.

One inquires further whence the serpent's motion begins, as if from a principle.

1. It seems to begin from the head. Because the principle of motion is that from which the motive power proceeds and by which it is regulated. But this occurs from the head and the brain, and therefore, etc.

2. Moreover, that in which there is the greatest flexibility is the proper principle of motion. But this is in the head and the neck, because it can turn its head to the rear, as the Philosopher says. Therefore, etc.

To the contrary. That is the first principle of motion which, when it ceases, causes motion to cease. But this occurs with the cessation of the heartbeat. But the heart is in the middle. Therefore, the serpent's motion begins from the middle.

And one must reply that the motion of any given animal begins from a principle that is situated in the middle, and it proceeds from there to the circumference. Thus the serpent would not move its head unless there were something in its middle setting the head in motion. Thus the first principle of motion is in the heart, just as the Philosopher says in the book On the Movement of Animals, and it flows from there to the other parts. Now, the heart is in the middle of every animal. But in some animals it is located between the place for the entrance and for the exit of the food, and in others it is in the middle between the right side and the left side (as in those capable of motion).

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must respond that two things are necessary for motion: namely, imagination and execution. With respect to imagination, the principle of motion is in the head and the brain; but with respect to execution, the principle of motion is in the middle, namely, in the heart, and this part sets the other in motion.

2. To the second argument one can respond in the same way.

Whether the heart has a dedicated location in serpents, in ringed animals, and in bloodless animals.

One inquires further whether the heart has a dedicated location in serpents, in ringed animals, and in bloodless animals.

1. It seems not. Something lives only through the influence established by a member in service to life. But parts of a serpent or a ringed animal live when they are cut off.[1] Therefore, they receive the influence of a member in service to life. But the heart is just such a member. Therefore, the heart will be in any given divided part.

2. Furthermore, everything that lives participates in that through which life is shared. Therefore, anything that lives with respect to a given part participates in that thing through which life is shared with respect to that given part. But the serpent lives in this way, and life is shared through the heart. Therefore, etc.

On the contrary. Whatever is generated first in an animal has a determinate location in the animal. But the heart is generated first in an animal. Therefore, etc.

One must respond that either the heart or something analogous to the heart has a determinate location in serpents and, similarly, in ringed animals. And the reason for this is that when many things are ordered to one thing and for the sake of one thing, if these are determined and have a determinate location, then how much more so will the principle be determinate. But there is a brain and there are lungs in serpents, and the lungs are the fan for the heart, and likewise the brain exists for the tempering of the heart. Therefore, since the brain and the lungs have a determinate location in serpents, how much more so will the heart.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must say that serpents and ringed animals are extremely uniform across their

2. To the second argument one must respond that it is unnecessary for every living being to participate in a principal member through which life is shared; rather, it suffices for it to participate in a part that does the sharing or with which it is shared.

Or one can say, in another way, that the soul is in things in two ways: either radically, or in the manner of one exerting influence. Thus the soul exists in every part radically, but it is in the heart alone in the manner of one exerting influence. And it is for this reason that the parts, because they have the radical principle of life, continue to live even after they have been cut off. But because the influence from a principal part (like the heart) has ceased, they do not live a long time, etc.

  • [1] "Ringed animal": Literal translation of animal anulosum, referring to the segmented bodies of insects. Akin, but not identical, to A.'s other term for insect bodies, rugosus, lit., "wrinkled." parts, and this is why the parts participate in life in the manner of the whole, and why the parts that are cut off continue to live. This is evident when an eel has been cut up, not because there is a principal member of life in the parts or because there is a heart in that part after it has been cut off, but rather because, due to the uniformity with the whole, they retain the [heart's] previously established influence.
 
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