Medieval Theories

  • Juhana Toivanen
  • Mikko Yrjönsuuri
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 12)


Medieval psychological texts include extensive discussions about the ability to cognise various things which are parts of the cognising subject itself. Awareness of oneself as a subject of thought was not, however, commonly distinguished from other kinds of self-awareness. In this way, the general approach to philosophical questions concerning self-cognition is different from the modern one – as are the contexts in which these questions were asked. Still, medieval philosophy contains interesting material about self-cognition. It should be mentioned that although there is no Latin equivalent to the noun ‘self,’ medievals employed various grammatical structures to discuss these matters. For instance, the pronoun ipse and the reflexive pronoun se (se cognoscere for self-knowledge, se apprehendere for self-apprehension, etc.) were much used. Also, the Latin terms conscientia and conscientia sui were used in ways similar to the contemporary English ‘consciousness’ and ‘self-consciousness,’ though this was not very common.


Infinite Regress External Thing Aristotelian Conception Human Intellect Aristotelian View 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and PhilosophyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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