Advertisement

Aristotle and Alexander of Aphrodisias on Active Intellectual Cognition

  • Frans A. J. de HaasEmail author
Chapter
  • 12 Downloads
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 23)

Abstract

Since Antiquity, “active cognition” has been a problematic notion in Aristotelian scholarship. Part of the problem is the definition of what counts as “active”. In the first part of this paper I shall offer a short survey on various contenders for “active” perceptual cognition defended in recent interpretations of Aristotle, by way of introduction to the more complicated problems of “active” intellectual cognition. In the second part of the paper I will offer—in outline—my interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of intellectual cognition, which takes the most recent findings in the area of perceptual cognition as a starting point. Here I pursue the analogy that Aristotle sets up between perception and intellection throughout the De anima. In the third part of the paper I shall examine a number of influential accounts of active intellectual cognition found in the corpus of Alexander of Aphrodisias, in particular Mantissa 2–5 (also known as De intellectu). These accounts each develop the analogies offered in Aristotle’s De anima III.5 in their own way.

References

  1. Accattino, P., & Cobetto Ghiggia, P. (2005). Alessandro di Afrodisia. De anima II (Mantissa). Premessa, testo rivisto, traduzione et note. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.Google Scholar
  2. Barker, A. (1981). Aristotle on perception and ratios. Phronesis, 26, 248–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blumenthal, H. J. (1987). Alexander of Aphrodisias in the later Greek commentaries on Aristotle’s De anima. In J. Wiesner (Ed.), Aristoteles: Werk und Wirkung (Vol. II, pp. 90–106). Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, D. (1997). Aristotle on perception: The Dual–Logos theory. Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science, 30, 143–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burnyeat, M. F. (2002). De anima II.5. Phronesis, 47(1), 28–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caston, V. (1999). Aristotle’s two intellects: A modest proposal. Phronesis, 44(3), 199–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coope, U. (2005). Aristotle’s account of agency in physics III 3. Boston Area Colloqium in Ancient Philosophy, 20(1), 201–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Corcilius, K. (2014). Activity, passivity, and perceptual discrimination in Aristotle. In J. F. Silva & M. Yrjönsuuri (Eds.), Active perception in the history of philosophy: From Plato to modern philosophy (pp. 31–53). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corcilius, K., & Gregori´c, P. (2013). Aristotle’s model of animal motion. Phronesis, 58, 52–97.Google Scholar
  10. De Haas, F. A. J. (2002). Modifications of the method of inquiry in Aristotle’s Physics I.1. An essay on the dynamics of the ancient commentary tradition. In C. H. Leijenhorst, C. H. Lüthy, & J. M. M. H. Thijssen (Eds.), The dynamics of Aristotelian natural philosophy (pp. 31–56). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  11. De Haas, F. A. J. (2005). The discriminating capacity of the soul in Aristotle’s theory of learning. In R. Salles (Ed.), Metaphysics, soul, and ethics in ancient thought. Themes from the work of Richard Sorabji (pp. 321–344). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. De Haas, F. A. J. (2009). Know thyself: Plato and Aristotle on awareness. In G. Van Riel & P. Destr´ee (Eds.), Ancient perspectives on Aristotle’s De Anima (pp. 49–69). Leuven: Leuven University Press.Google Scholar
  13. De Haas, F. A. J. (2018a). Themistius. In A. Marmodoro (Ed.), A history of mind and body in late antiquity (111–128). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Haas, F. A. J. (2018b). Potentiality in Aristotle’s psychology and ethics. In K. Engelhard & M. Quante (Eds.), Handbook of potentiality (pp. 71–91). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Haas, F. A. J. (2019). Intellect in Alexander of Aphrodisias and Philoponus. In J. Sisko (Ed.), Philosophy of mind in antiquity (pp. 299–316). Chesham: Acumen.Google Scholar
  16. Ebert, T. (1983). Aristotle on what is done in perceiving. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung, 37, 181–198.Google Scholar
  17. Everson, S. (1997). Aristotle on perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Frede, M. (1996). La th´eorie aristot´elicienne de l’intellect agent. In G. Romeyer-Dherbey & C. Viano (Eds.), Corps et âme: sur le De anima d’Aristote (pp. 377–390). Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  19. Gabbe, M. (2008a). Themistius as a commentator on Aristotle: Understanding and appreciating his conception of Nous Pathêtikos and Phantasia. Dionysius, 26, 73–92.Google Scholar
  20. Gabbe, M. (2008b). Theophrastus and the intellect as mixture. Elenchos, 29(1), 61–90.Google Scholar
  21. Gregori´c, P. (2007). Aristotle on the common sense. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Huby, P., & Gutas, D. (1999). Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his life, writings, thought & influence. Commentary (Psychology, Vol. 4). Leiden/Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  23. Johansen, T. K. (1997). Aristotle on the sense-organs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johansen, T. K. (2002). Imprinted on the mind: Passive and active in Aristotle’s theory of perception. In B. Saunders & J. Van Brakel (Eds.), Theories, technologies, instrumentalities of color: Anthropological and historiographic perspectives (pp. 169–188). Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  25. Johansen, T. K. (2006). In defense of inner sense: Aristotle on perceiving that one sees. Boston Area Colloqium in Ancient Philosophy, 21, 235–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johansen, T. K. (2012). Capacity and potentiality: Aristotle’s Metaphysics IV.6–7 from the perspective of the De Anima. Topoi, 31, 209–220.Google Scholar
  27. Kessler, E. (2011). Alexander of Aphrodisias and his Doctrine of the Soul. 1400 Years of lasting significance. Early Science and Medicine, 16, 1–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kosman, L. A. (1992). What does the maker mind make? In M. Nussbaum & A. Rorty (Eds.), Essays on Aristotle’s De Anima (pp. 343–358). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Magrin, S. (2011). Theophrastus, Alexander, and Themistius on Aristotle’s De anima III.4–5. In R. Wisnovsky et al. (Eds.), Vehicles of transmission, translation, and transformation in medieval textual culture (pp. 49–74). Turnhout: Brepols.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moraux, P. (1942). Alexandre d’Aphrodise. Exˊegˋete de la noˊetique d’Aristote. Luik-Paris: Facult´e de Philosophie et Lettres.Google Scholar
  31. Opsomer, J., & Sharples, R. W. (2000). Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Intellectu 110.4: ‘I heard this from Aristotle’. A modest proposal. Classical Quarterly, 50(1), 252–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pines, S. (1987). Some distinctive metaphysical conceptions in Themistius’ commentary on book Lamba and their place in the history of philosophy. In P. Moraux (Ed.), Aristoteles Werk und Wirkung (Vol. 2, pp. 177–204). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  33. Polansky, R. (1999). Analogy and Disanalogy of the Soul’s Faculties in Aristotle’s De Anima. Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, 15, 57–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schroeder, F. M. (1981). The analogy of the active intellect to light in the De anima of Alexander of Aphrodisias. Hermes, 109, 215–225.Google Scholar
  35. Schroeder, F. M. (1997). The provenance of the “De intellectu” attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias. Documenti e studi sulla traditione filosofica medievale, 8, 105–120.Google Scholar
  36. Schroeder, F. M., & Todd, R. B. (1990). Two Greek Aristotelian commentators on the intellect: The “De intellectu” attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias and Themistius’ Paraphrase of Aristotle “De anima”, 3.4–8. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.Google Scholar
  37. Sharples, R. W. (1987). Alexander of Aphrodisias. Scholasticism and innovation. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt (Vol. II, 36.2, pp. 1176–1243). Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  38. Sharples, R. W. (2004). Alexander of Aphrodisias. Supplement to On the soul. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  39. Sharples, R. W. (2008). Alexander Aphrodisiensis De anima libri mantissa. A new edition of the Greek text with introduction and commentary. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  40. Shields, C. (2016). Aristotle. De anima. Translated with an introduction and commentary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  41. Sorabji, R. R. K. (2004). The philosophy of the commentators 200–600 AD (Psychology, Vol. 1). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Tuominen, M. (2006). Aristotle and Alexander of Aphrodisias on the Active Intellect. In V. Hirvonen, T. J. Holopainen, & M. Tuominen (Eds.), Mind and modality: Studies in the history of philosophy in Honour of Simo Knuuttila (pp. 55–70). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  43. Tuominen, M. (2010). Receptive reason: Alexander of Aphrodisias on material intellect. Phronesis, 55, 170–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations