Aquinas and Themistius on Intellect

Aquinas puts forward two different, and conflicting, interpretations of Themistius’s account of the intellect. In his earlier interpretation of Themistius, Aquinas understands him to hold the position that both the possible and agent intellect are separate and incorruptible, existing apart from individual human souls but shared in by individual souls in the process of knowing. In De unitate intellectus contra averroistas, however, Aquinas radically departs from this reading, hailing Themistius as a genuine interpreter of the Peripatetic position, while decrying Averroes’s perversion of both Themistius and Aristotle. This paper examines these competing interpretations of Themistius’s account of the intellect in his Commentary on the De anima of Aristotle, focusing on two issues central to its interpretation: (1) the nature of intellect insofar as it is separate, impassive, and unmixed, and (2) whether the productive intellect is one or many.
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DOI 10.5840/acpaproc2006805
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