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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. added 2019-01-11
    Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Commentary, Christopher Shields. [REVIEW]Caleb Cohoe - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):192-193.
  2. added 2019-01-08
    Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Notes.C. D. C. Reeve & Aristotle - 2017 - Indianapolis, USA: Hackett.
  3. added 2018-12-07
    'Aristotle: Psychology'.Pearson Giles - 2013 - In F. Sheffield & J. Warren (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 304-318.
  4. added 2018-11-08
    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 (...)
  5. added 2018-08-07
    Brentano's Act Psychology Was Not Aristotelian (or Else, Not Empirical).Benjamin Sheredos - 2016 - Brentano Studien 14:157-189.
  6. added 2018-08-07
    Nous Poietikos: Survey of Earlier Interpretations.Franz Brentano - 1992 - In M. Nussbaum & A. O. Rorty (eds.), Essays on Aistotle's De Anima. Clarendon Press. pp. 313-341.
    This essay explores Aristotle’s conception of the active intellect or nous poiētikos. The earliest, medieval, and most recent interpretations of this concept are discussed. It is argued that even Aristotle’s immediate disciples disagreed in their conception of the active intellect, nor was there any more unanimity in the Middle Ages. According to Trendelenburg, the difficulty of the Aristotelian doctrine lies in the fact that the nous is sometimes said to be so intimately connected with the other faculties of the soul (...)
  7. added 2018-07-10
    Review of Erick Raphael Jiménez, Aristotle's Concept of Mind[REVIEW]Noell Birondo - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Philosophy.
    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 (...)
  8. added 2018-06-04
    Michael Frede's "The Aristotelian Theory of the Agent Intellect" [Translation].Samuel Murray - manuscript
    This is a rough translation of Michael Frede's "La théorie aristotélicienne de l'intellect agent" published in 1996. This insightful paper contains an important interpretation of Aristotle's notoriously difficult theory of the active intellect from De Anima III, 5. I worked up a translation during some research and thought others might benefit from having an English translation available (I couldn't find one after a cursory internet search). It's not perfect, but it should give one a sense for Frede's argument that the (...)
  9. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  10. added 2018-04-21
    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. (...)
  11. added 2018-04-21
    Commentators on Aristotle.Andrea Falcon - manuscript
    One important mode of philosophical expression from the end of the Hellenistic period and into Late Antiquity was the philosophical commentary. During this time Plato and Aristotle were regarded as philosophical authorities and their works were subject to intense study. This entry offers a concise account of how the revival of interest in the philosophy of Aristotle that took place towards the end of the Hellenistic period eventually developed into a new literary production: the philosophical commentary. It also follows the (...)
  12. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle's Conception of Universality.Gregory Salmieri - manuscript
    Against the standard interpretation of Aristotle as a moderate realist about universals, I argue that he knew of and rejected this position and that he held that universals do not exist independently of the mind, but have a mind-independent basis in relations of commensurability and causality between particulars and their attributes.
  13. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle on Thought.David Rosenthal - unknown
    The main goal of Deborah Modrak's penetrating and compelling discussion is to show that Aristotle subscribed "to an integrated model of perceptual and noetic functions" (268). Using Aristotle's phrase (Γ4, 429b13, 21), Modrak describes the integrated model as the view that "the noetic faculty is the perceptual faculty differently disposed" (283). She notes that this interpretation faces certain difficulties, but argues forcefully and incisively that it can nonetheless be sustained.
  14. added 2018-04-21
    On Happiness and Contemplation in Aristotle's Thought.Victor Eugen Gelan - manuscript
  15. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  16. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  17. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  18. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  19. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  20. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  21. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  22. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  23. added 2018-04-21
    Thought as Internal Speech in Plato and Aristotle.Matthew Duncombe - 2016 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 19:105-125.
  24. added 2018-04-21
    Separate Material Intellect in Philosophy of Averroes.قربانی علی - 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 (...)
  25. added 2018-04-21
    Metaphysical Models of the Mind in Aristotle.Theodore Scaltsas - 2016 - Philosophical Inquiry 40 (3-4):46-54.
  26. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  27. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  28. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  29. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle's Soul.Thomas Kjeller Johansen - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Thomas Kjeller Johansen presents a new account of Aristotle's major work on psychology, the De Anima. He argues that Aristotle explains a variety of psychological phenomena--including perception, intellect, memory, and imagination--by reference to the soul's capacities, and considers how Aristotle adopts and adapts this theory in his later works.
  30. added 2018-04-21
    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. (...)
  31. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  32. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle on Scholê and Nous as a Way of Life.Kostas Kalimtzis - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40 (Supplement):131-136.
  33. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  34. added 2018-04-21
    'Obviously All This Agrees with My Will and My Intellect': Schopenhauer on Active and Passive Nous in Aristotle's De Anima Iii.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, (...)
  35. added 2018-04-21
    Nyvlt, Mark J. Aristotle and Plotinus on the Intellect: Monism and Dualism Revisited. [REVIEW]Brandon Zimmerman - 2014 - Review of Metaphysics 68 (2):440-441.
  36. added 2018-04-21
    Unconscious Thought in Peripatetic Philosophy.John S. Hendrix - unknown
    In Aristotle’s De anima 3.5, the relation between intellect and thought, and between thought and object, is not accessible to discursive or conscious thought; an understanding of the relation requires nous, intuitive or “unconscious” thought. The “active” intellect is accessible to discursive reason only sporadically. “Mind does not think intermittently” : mind is always thinking, consciously and unconsciously. Alexander of Aphrodisias saw the active intellect as transcendent in relation to the material intellect. The thought which is an object of thought (...)
  37. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle and Plotinus on Intellect. Monism and Dualism Revisited, by Mark J. Nyvlt.Gary M. Gurtler - 2014 - Ancient Philosophy 34 (2):451-455.
  38. added 2018-04-21
    Virtues of Thought.Aryeh Kosman - 2014 - Harvard.
  39. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  40. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  41. added 2018-04-21
    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.
  42. added 2018-04-21
    A New Understanding of Aristotle's 'Dualism' in the De Anima.Chryssi Sidiropoulou - 2013 - Philosophical Inquiry 37 (3-4):12-31.
  43. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  44. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  45. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  46. added 2018-04-21
    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 (...)
  47. added 2018-04-21
    Colloquium 5: Theoretical Nous And Its Objects In Aristotle.Iakovos Vasiliou - 2013 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 28 (1):161-180.
  48. added 2018-04-21
    Mind and Hylomorphism.Robert Pasnau - 2012 - In John Marenbon (ed.), The Oxford Handbook to Medieval Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    For later medieval philosophers, writing under the influence of Aristotle’s natural philosophy and metaphysics, the human soul plays two quite different roles, serving as both a substantial form and a mind. To ask the natural question of why we need a soul at all – why we might not instead simply be a body, a material thing – therefore requires considering two very different sets of issues. The first set of issues is metaphysical, and revolves around the central question of (...)
  49. added 2018-04-21
    Changing Aristotle's Mind and World : Critical Notes on McDowell's Aristotle.Matthew Sharpe - 2012 - Philosophy Study 2 (11):804-821.
    Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is central to John McDowell’s classic Mind and World. In Lectures IV and V of that work, McDowell makes three claims concerning Aristotle’s ethics: first, that Aristotle did not base his ethics on an externalist, naturalistic basis (including a theory of human nature); second, that attempts to read him as an ethical naturalist are a modern anachronism, generated by the supposed need to ground all viable philosophical claims on claims analogous to the natural sciences; and third, that (...)
  50. added 2018-04-21
    Incorporeal Nous and the Science of the Soul in Aristotle’s De Anima.Adam Wood - 2012 - International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):169-182.
    In this essay I argue first that De anima 3.4–5 shows Aristotle answering affirmatively a question that he raises near the beginning of the work, namely, whether any of the soul’s affections are proper to it alone. Second, I argue that this initial conclusion reveals something important about the very first question that Aristotle broaches in the work, viz., the method and starting-points employed in the science of the soul. Aristotle’s position, I claim, shows that investigating the human soul is (...)
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