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Summary Aristotle's views in this area are hotly disputed. While everyone agrees that Aristotle sees understanding and reasoning as cognitive achievements that go beyond the sorts of perception animals are capable of, there are disagreements about the nature of these activities and the power responsible for them, the intellect. First of all, scholars disagree about how to interpret Aristotle's claim that the intellect is unmixed with the body and has no bodily organ, claims he defends in De Anima 3.4. Some take this as showing that the intellect can operate apart from the body in a way that other powers of the soul cannot. Others maintain that Aristotle is only claiming that the intellect has no specific bodily organ. There is also disagreement about the active and passive intellects discussed in De Anima 3.5. Most scholars think the passive intellect is a power of the human soul and many think this about the divine and unaffected active intellect as well. Others, however, think that this active intellect is Aristotle's God, the unmoved mover of Metaphysics Lambda, or another entity outside of the human soul.
Key works Cohoe (Cohoe 2014) offers an overview of the main interpretative options. Interpretations which minimize the force of Aristotle's claim that the intellect is unmixed with the body and has no bodily organ include Caston 2009 and Wedin 1988. Cohoe offers a stronger reading of 3.4, according to which Aristotle thinks that the intellect cannot operate through bodily organs, as the power of perception does (Cohoe 2013). Works that argue that the active intellect is God include Burnyeat 2008Caston 1999, and Frede 1996. Lloyd Gerson understands the active intellect to be "intellect itself," an eternally-thinking thing, whose understanding we sometimes participate in, when we grasp the nature of something. He does not, however, take intellect itself to be identical with God (Gerson 2004).
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  1. On Happiness and Contemplation in Aristotle's Thought.Victor Eugen Gelan - manuscript
  2. The Unity of Intellect and Intelligible From a New Point of View.R. Akbari - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 20.
    "In this article, I will try to examine this doctrine from a historical point of view; this examination is, somehow, different from the critical studies on this doctrine. This doctrine should be discussed as an epistemological topic. Hence, to recognize the notion of intelligence, a glance on the history of development of this term will largely help us.''After a historical discussion from the ancient times to the present time, the author says:"``After the advent of Islam and the conquests, made by (...)
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  3. Levels of the Intellect in Aristotle and Ibn Sina.Ali Walani - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 54.
    The study of the history of the development of the issue of intellect is one of the most important issues in the history of philosophy for all philosophers and researchers in related fields. As we know, in Greece, Aristotle was called the intellect of Plato's classes and his name was inseparable from intellect.Aristotle's ambiguous interpretation of intellect motivated the commentators of his works to present a number of innovative solutions when reviewing the issue of intellect from the viewpoint of Aristotle. (...)
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  4. Distributed Cognition, Neuroprostheses and Their Implications to Non-Physicalist Theories of Mind.Jean Gové - forthcoming - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy.
    This paper investigates the notion of ‘distributed cognition’—the idea that entities external to one’s organic brain participate in one’s overall cognitive functioning—and the challenges it poses to the notion of personhood. Related to this is also a consideration of the ever-increasing ways in which neuroprostheses replace and functionally replicate organic parts of the brain. However, the literature surrounding such issues has tended to take an almost exclusively physicalist approach. The common assumption is that, given that non-physicalist theories (chiefly, dualism, and (...)
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  5. Living Without a Soul: Why God and the Heavenly Movers Fall Outside of Aristotle’s Psychology.Caleb Cohoe - 2020 - Phronesis 65 (3):281-323.
    I argue that the science of the soul only covers sublunary living things. Aristotle cannot properly ascribe ψυχή to unmoved movers since they do not have any capacities that are distinct from their activities or any matter to be structured. Heavenly bodies do not have souls in the way that mortal living things do, because their matter is not subject to alteration or generation. These beings do not fit into the hierarchy of soul powers that Aristotle relies on to provide (...)
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  6. Review of Erick Raphael Jiménez, Aristotle's Concept of Mind[REVIEW]Noell Birondo - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (1):162-163.
    In this ambitious first book, Erick Raphael Jiménez argues that a good model for understanding Aristotle’s concept of mind (nous) lies in Aristotle’s account of the perception of time. This “time-perception model” of mind and its activity, thinking, bridges a gap between Jiménez’s unorthodox readings of Aristotelian mind and its objects. The book will attract the interest of specialists in Aristotle’s psychology, as well as other scholars interested in Aristotle’s concept of mind and its influence, for instance, theologians interested in (...)
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  7. How Aristotle Changes Anaxagoras’s Mind.Jason W. Carter - 2019 - Apeiron 52 (1):1-28.
    I argue that a common interpretation of DA 3.4, which sees Aristotle as there rejecting Anaxagoras’s account of mind, is mistaken. Instead, I claim that, in providing his solution to the main puzzles of this chapter, Aristotle takes special care to preserve the essential features that he thinks Anaxagoras ascribes to mind, namely, its ability to know all things, its being unmixed, and its inability to be affected by mixed objects.
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  8. Intelecto agente, motor inmóvil y Dios en Aristóteles.Alejandro Farieta - 2019 - Areté. Revista de Filosofía 31 (1):35-76.
    This article faces the classic problem of the interpretation of what Aristotle calls in de An. III, 5 “the intellect that produces all things”, which is commonly named agent intellect. Historically, there have been two approaches: one that goes back to Alexander of Aphrodisias, who associates the agent intellect with the unmoved mover and the divinity, and another one, associated with Theophrastus but whose major representatives are Philoponus and St. Thomas of Aquinas, who consider that agent intellect is an exclusively (...)
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  9. Review of Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Notes, C.D.C. Reeve. [REVIEW]Caleb Cohoe - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:1.
    This is an excellent translation of Aristotle's De Anima or On the Soul, part of C.D.C. Reeve's impressive ongoing project of translating Aristotle's works for the New Hackett Aristotle. Reeve's translation is careful and accurate, committed to faithfully rendering Aristotle into English while making him as readable as possible. This edition features excellent notes that will greatly assist readers (especially in their inclusion of related passages that illuminate the sections they annotate) and an introduction that situates the work within Aristotle's (...)
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  10. Why the View of Intellect in De Anima I 4 Isn’T Aristotle’s Own.Caleb Cohoe - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2):241-254.
    In De Anima I 4, Aristotle describes the intellect (nous) as a sort of substance, separate and incorruptible. Myles Burnyeat and Lloyd Gerson take this as proof that, for Aristotle, the intellect is a separate eternal entity, not a power belonging to individual humans. Against this reading, I show that this passage does not express Aristotle’s own views, but dialectically examines a reputable position (endoxon) about the intellect that seems to show that it can be subject to change. The passage’s (...)
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  11. Mortality of the Soul and Immortality of the Active Mind (ΝΟΥΣ ΠΟΊΗΤΊΚÓΣ) in Aristotle. Some Hints. Kronos : Philosophical Journal, 7:132-140. Kopieren.Rafael Ferber - 2018 - Kronos : Philosophical Journal 7:132-140.
    The paper gives (I) a short introduction to Aristotle’s theory of the soul in distinction to Plato’s and tries again (II) to answer the question of whether the individual or the general active mind of human beings is immortal by interpreting “When separated (χωρισθεìς)” (de An. III, 5, 430a22) as the decisive argument for the latter view. This strategy of limiting the question has the advantage of avoiding the probably undecidable question of whether this active νοῦς is human or divine. (...)
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  12. Aristotle on the Intellect and Limits of Natural Science.Christopher Frey - 2018 - In John E. Sisko (ed.), Philosophy of Mind in Antiquity: The History of the Philosophy of Mind, Volume 1. New York: Routledge. pp. 160-174.
    To which science, if any, does the intellect’s study belong? Though the student of nature studies every other vital capacity, most interpreters maintain that Aristotle excludes the intellect from natural science’s domain. I survey the three main reasons that lead to this interpretation: the intellect (i) is not realized physiologically in a proprietary organ, (ii) its naturalistic study would corrupt natural science’s boundaries and leave no room for other forms of inquiry, and (iii) it is not, as all other vital (...)
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  13. Aristotle: Thought and Language.Marin Aiftincă - 2017 - Balkan Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):119-126.
    This paper aims to argue the idea that, by analyzing the relationship between thought and language, Aristotle decisively contributed to the foundation of the philosophy of language. Researching language in its relations with thinking and existence, the Stagirite demonstrated that the language is not just a communication tool, but a method of knowledge or of “deciphering” the world. The word reflects the reality throughthought and, in this situation, is not a slave of ideas or concepts. On the contrary, it even (...)
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  14. Aristotle’s Critique of Timaean Psychology.Jason W. Carter - 2017 - Rhizomata 5 (1):51-78.
    Of all the criticisms that Aristotle gives of his predecessors’ theories of soul in De anima I.3–5, none seems more unmotivated than the ones directed against the world soul of Plato’s Timaeus. Against the current scholarly consensus, I claim that the status of Aristotle’s criticisms is philosophical rather than eristical, and that they provide important philosophical reasons, independent of Phys. VIII.10 and Metaph. Λ.6, for believing that νοῦς is without spatial extension, and that its thinking is not a physical motion.
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  15. Aristotle’s Harmony with Plato on Separable and Immortal Soul.W. M. Coombs - 2017 - South African Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):541-552.
    The possibility of a harmony between the psychological doctrine of Aristotle and that of Plato marks a significant issue within the context of the debate surrounding Aristotle’s putative opposition to or harmony with Plato’s philosophy. The standard interpretation of Aristotle’s conception of the soul being purely hylomorphic leaves no room for harmonisation with Plato, nor does a functionalist interpretation that reduces Aristotle’s psychological doctrine to physicalist terms. However, these interpretations have serious drawbacks, both in terms of ad-hoc explanations formulated in (...)
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  16. Bon Sens and Noûs.Olguin Roberto Estrada - 2017 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 2:112.
    This paper is intended to link the notion of bon sens with the Greek notion of noûs, that exposes the role played by the first notion in the thought of Pierre Duhem and explains the concept of noûs in the thought of Aristotle. Later, it attempts to carry out the explanation of the link that can have both notions.
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  17. Aristotle's Concept of Mind.Erick Raphael Jiménez - 2017 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this book, Erick Raphael Jiménez examines Aristotle's concept of mind, a key concept in Aristotelian psychology, metaphysics, and epistemology. Drawing on a close analysis of De Anima, Jiménez argues that mind is neither disembodied nor innate, as has commonly been held, but an embodied ability that emerges from learning and discovery. Looking to Aristotle's metaphysics and epistemology, Jiménez argues that just as Aristotelian mind is not innate, intelligibility is not an innate feature of the objects of Aristotelian mind, but (...)
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  18. Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Notes.C. D. C. Reeve & Aristotle - 2017 - Indianapolis, USA: Hackett.
  19. Aristotle on Nature, Human Nature and Human Understanding.Mor Segev - 2017 - Rhizomata 5 (2):177-209.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Rhizomata Jahrgang: 5 Heft: 2 Seiten: 177-209.
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  20. Chapter 6. Mind and Motion in Aristotle.Christopher Shields - 2017 - In James G. Lennox & Mary Louise Gill (eds.), Self-Motion: From Aristotle to Newton. Princeton University Press. pp. 117-134.
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  21. Проблема intellectio і verbum mentis у трактатах «De anima» Інокентія Ґізеля і «De corpore animato» Йосифа Волчанського.Yaroslava Stratii - 2017 - Kyivan Academy:10-41.
    У статті здійснено порівняльний аналіз концепцій ментального слова (verbum mentis) могилянських професорів Інокентія Ґізеля і Йосифа Волчанського. Аналіз спирається на латинськомовні рукописні трактати «De anima» Ґізеля (1646–1647 рр.) і «De corpore animato» Волчанського (1715–1717 рр.). Запропоновані тут концепції інтелектуального пізнання розглядаються у контексті західної схоластичної традиції. З’ясовано, що розуміння інтелектуального пізнання Інокентієм Ґізелем і Йосифом Волчанським суттєво відрізнялися. Концепція Ґізеля відзначається еклектичним характером і поєднує в собі елементи томістичної, скотистичної і суаресіанської інтерпретацій, тоді як Волчанський орієнтується на Франсиско Суареса та (...)
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  22. Chapter 5. Aristotle on the Mind’s Self-Motion.Michael V. Wedin - 2017 - In James G. Lennox & Mary Louise Gill (eds.), Self-Motion: From Aristotle to Newton. Princeton University Press. pp. 81-116.
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  23. The Role of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 12.9.Dougal Blyth - 2016 - Méthexis 28 (1):76-92.
    Ch.9 of Metaph. 12 gives no support to the common view (against which I have argued elsewhere) that in ch.7 Aristotle identifies his Prime Mover not only as a god but also as an intellect. Rather, ch.9 approaches the divinity of intellect as a common belief (ἔνδοξον) from the Greek philosophical and poetic tradition (as at ch.7, 1072b23) that now requires dialectical testing. Here Aristotle initially establishes that there is a most active intellect (proposed ch.7, 1072b18–19: demonstrated ch.9, 1074b17–21, b28–9), (...)
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  24. When and Why Understanding Needs Phantasmata: A Moderate Interpretation of Aristotle’s De Memoria and De Anima on the Role of Images in Intellectual Activities.Caleb Cohoe - 2016 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 61 (3):337-372.
    I examine the passages where Aristotle maintains that intellectual activity employs φαντάσματα (images) and argue that he requires awareness of the relevant images. This, together with Aristotle’s claims about the universality of understanding, gives us reason to reject the interpretation of Michael Wedin and Victor Caston, on which φαντάσματα serve as the material basis for thinking. I develop a new interpretation by unpacking the comparison Aristotle makes to the role of diagrams in doing geometry. In theoretical understanding of mathematical and (...)
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  25. Thought as Internal Speech in Plato and Aristotle.Matthew Duncombe - 2016 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 19:105-125.
  26. Metaphysical Models of the Mind in Aristotle.Theodore Scaltsas - 2016 - Philosophical Inquiry 40 (3-4):46-54.
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  27. Pomponazzi Contra Averroes on the Intellect.John Sellars - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1):45-66.
    This paper examines Pomponazzi's arguments against Averroes in his De Immortalitate Animae, focusing on the question whether thought is possible without a body. The first part of the paper will sketch the history of the problem, namely the interpretation of Aristotle's remarks about the intellect in De Anima 3.4-5, touching on Alexander, Themistius, and Averroes. The second part will focus on Pomponazzi's response to Averroes, including his use of arguments by Aquinas. It will conclude by suggesting that Pomponazzi's discussion stands (...)
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  28. Brentano's Act Psychology Was Not Aristotelian (or Else, Not Empirical).Benjamin Sheredos - 2016 - Brentano Studien 14:157-189.
  29. Virtues of Thought: Essays on Plato and Aristotle. By Aryeh Kosman. Pp. Viii, 325, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2014, $49.95/£36.95. [REVIEW]John R. Williams - 2016 - Heythrop Journal 57 (1):177-178.
  30. Separate Material Intellect in Philosophy of Averroes.علی قربانی - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations at University of Tabriz 10 (18):171-187.
    The Explanation of the De Anima of Aristotle is the most important issue for Scholastic Philosophers. Averroes as the Commentator of Aristotle, explains De Anima of Aristotle in three works: Short Commentary, Middle Commentary and Long Commentary on de Anima. The latter contains the latest and most perfect of Averroes view about material intellect. He is trying to present a coherent explain about human knowledge that is vague in Aristotle philosophy. For Averroes this faculty must be the identical receptive of (...)
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  31. O CONCEITO DE NOUS E SUA RELAÇÃO COM O CONCEITO DE DIANÓIA NA FILOSOFIA DE ARISTÓTELES.Alexandre Guedes Barbosa - 2015 - Inquietude 6 (2):52-74.
    Aristóteles, em sua obra De anima, além de apresentar uma intrigante teoria sobre intelecto (nous), que dá margem a uma compreensão bipartida do mesmo em ativo (nous poiētikos) e passivo (nous pathetikon), afirma que as afecções do intelecto são distintas das afecções de quem o possui. Uma das afecções deste que possui o intelecto, segundo o filósofo, é o raciocínio. Ademais, diz que este é perecível, ao passo que aquele é impassível e eterno. Desta maneira, longe de aclarar, acaba por (...)
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  32. On the Time of the Intellect: The Interpretation of De Anima 3.6 in Renaissance and Early Modern Italian Philosophy.Olivier Dubouclez - 2015 - Early Science and Medicine 20 (1):1-26.
    This article argues that an original debate over the relationship between time and the intellect took place in Northern Italy in the second half of the sixteenth century, which was part of a broader reflection on the temporality of human mental acts. While human intellectual activity was said to be ‘above time’ during the Middle Ages, Renaissance scholars such as Marcantonio Genua, Giulio Castellani, Antonio Montecatini and Francesco Piccolomini, greatly influenced by the Simplician and Alexandrist interpretations of Aristotle’s works, proposed (...)
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  33. Aristotle's de Anima in Focus.Michael Durrant (ed.) - 2015 - Routledge.
    Originally published in 1993. This book presents an amended version of R.D. Hick's classic translation of Aristotle's "De Anima" Books 2 and 3, with pertinent extracts from Book 1, together with an introduction and six papers by prominent international Aristotelian scholars. The editor brings together up-to-date discussions of Aristotle's "De Anima", examining central topics such as the nature of perception, perception and thought, thinking and the intellect, the nature of the soul and the relation between body and soul. These papers (...)
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  34. Aristotle on Scholê and Nous as a Way of Life.Kostas Kalimtzis - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40 (Supplement):131-136.
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  35. Aristotle on Singular Thought.Mika Perälä - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (3):349-375.
    aristotle assumes in many contexts that we are able to have singular thoughts such as “Cleon is white”.1 However, one might be puzzled about whether this is compatible with his theory of thought, which is commonly taken to explain thought about intelligible kinds rather than individuals.2 The question, then, is whether singular thoughts can be given an adequate account in Aristotle’s theoretical framework.3 There are basically three alternative ways to address this question. The first is to admit that Aristotle’s account (...)
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  36. The Notion of Intellect in Duns Scotus’ De Spiritualitate Et Immortalitate Animae Humanae: An Aristotelian Approach.Athanasia Theodoropoulou - 2015 - In Burçin Ercan (ed.), Interactions in the History of Philosophy II. Delta Publishing House. pp. 39-46.
    This paper offers an interpretative presentation of Duns Scotus’ notion of intellect, as it is delineated in his treatise entitled De Spiritualitate et Immortalitate Animae Humanae. Duns Scotus’ theory is gradually formed through his critical examination of the Aristotelian views which are presented in De Anima and Metaphysics.Duns Scotus accepts the Aristotelian definition of the soul, according to which the soul knows and thinks through its intellective power, and he claims that the intellective soul is the proper form of man. (...)
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  37. Nous in Aristotle's De Anima.Caleb Murray Cohoe - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):594-604.
    I lay out and examine two sharply conflicting interpretations of Aristotle's claims about nous in the De Anima (DA). On the human separability approach, Aristotle is taken to have identified reasons for thinking that the intellect can, in some way, exist on its own. On the naturalist approach, the soul, including intellectual soul, is inseparable from the body of which it is the form. I discuss how proponents of each approach deal with the key texts from the DA, focusing on (...)
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  38. Aristotle and Plotinus on Intellect. Monism and Dualism Revisited, by Mark J. Nyvlt.Gary M. Gurtler - 2014 - Ancient Philosophy 34 (2):451-455.
  39. Virtues of Thought.Aryeh Kosman - 2014 - Harvard.
  40. ‘Obviously All This Agrees with My Will and My Intellect’: Schopenhauer on Active and PassiveNousin Aristotle'sDe Animaiii.5.Mor Segev - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):535-556.
    In one of the unpublished parts of his manuscript titled the Spicilegia, Arthur Schopenhauer presents an uncharacteristically sympathetic reading of an Aristotelian text. The text in question, De anima III. 5, happens to include the only occurrence of arguably the most controversial idea in Aristotle, namely the distinction between active and passive nous. Schopenhauer interprets these two notions as corresponding to his own notions of the ?will? and the ?intellect? or ?subject of knowledge?, respectively. The result is a unique interpretation, (...)
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  41. Nyvlt, Mark J. Aristotle and Plotinus on the Intellect: Monism and Dualism Revisited. [REVIEW]Brandon Zimmerman - 2014 - Review of Metaphysics 68 (2):440-441.
  42. Aristotle’s Intellects: Now and Then.Jonathan Buttaci - 2013 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 87:127-143.
    One of the most highly debated passages in Aristotle is his doctrine of the nous poiētikos of de Anima III.5. The interpretations of its precise nature and operation that were given by ancient and medieval commentators abound also today. With few exceptions, however, present-day interpretations disagree with the ancients and others on the logic of the passage. In particular, while most ancient and medieval commentators agree that there are three intellects or intellectual powers on scene in the passage, most contemporary (...)
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  43. Aristotle’s Intellects: Now and Then.Jonathan Buttaci - 2013 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 87:127-143.
    One of the most highly debated passages in Aristotle is his doctrine of the nous poiētikos of de Anima III.5. The interpretations of its precise nature and operation that were given by ancient and medieval commentators abound also today. With few exceptions, however, present-day interpretations disagree with the ancients and others on the logic of the passage. In particular, while most ancient and medieval commentators agree that there are three intellects or intellectual powers on scene in the passage, most contemporary (...)
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  44. Review of The Powers of Aristotle's Soul, Thomas Kjeller Johansen. [REVIEW]Caleb Cohoe - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  45. Why the Intellect Cannot Have a Bodily Organ: De Anima 3.4.Caleb Cohoe - 2013 - Phronesis 58 (4):347-377.
    I reconstruct Aristotle’s reasons for thinking that the intellect cannot have a bodily organ. I present Aristotle’s account of the aboutness or intentionality of cognitive states, both perceptual and intellectual. On my interpretation, Aristotle’s account is based around the notion of cognitive powers taking on forms in a special preservative way. Based on this account, Aristotle argues that no physical structure could enable a bodily part or combination of bodily parts to produce or determine the full range of forms that (...)
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  46. 'Aristotle: Psychology'.Pearson Giles - 2013 - In F. Sheffield & J. Warren (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 304-318.
  47. Plotinus and Aristotle on the Simplicity of the Divine Intellect.Jonathan Greig - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    Aristotle and Plotinus both demonstrate the existence of a first principle as cause of the existence of all things. Aristotle puts forward that this first principle is a divine intellect which thinks on itself, and in being the highest being in complete actuality and without potentiality, it is also absolutely simple. Plotinus, on the other hand, sees reason to assert that the divine intellect can not be absolutely simple but a duality of some sort, and thus the first principle, as (...)
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  48. Aristotle and Plotinus on the Intellect. Monism and Dualism Revisited by Mark D. Nyvlt (Review).D. M. Hutchinson - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (3):480-481.
  49. Aristotle on God: Divine Nous as Unmoved Mover.R. Michael Olson - 2013 - In Jeanine Diller & Asa Kasher (eds.), Models of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities. Springer. pp. 101--109.
  50. The Ontological Account of Self-Consicousness in Aristotle and Aquinas.Juan José Sanguineti - 2013 - Review of Metaphysics 67 (2):311-344.
    This paper studies the notion of self-knowledge in Aristotle and principally in Aquinas. According to Aristotle, sensitive operations like seeing or hearing can be perceived by the knower, while there can be also an understanding of the understanding, mainly attributed to God, but not exclusively. In his ethical writings, Aristotle acknowledges the human capacity of understanding and perceiving one’s life and existence, extended also to other persons in the case of friendship. Aquinas receives this heritage and includes also the habitual (...)
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