Aristotle: Perception

Edited by Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver)
About this topic
Summary The largest area of debate in this category is about how Aristotle conceives of the changes involved in perception, changes he discusses in De Anima 2.5: does Aristotle think perception just is a type of physical or material change, the literalist position? Does he think that it's distinct from such changes but requires them, the intermediate position?  Does he think, on the contrary, that perception need not involve any material or physical changes in the bodily organ of perception? Other areas of discussion include explaining how the different sense modalities relate to each other and to the power of perception and discussing how perception supports and relates to phantasia and self-movement.
Key works Myles Burnyeat gives a comprehensive reading of De Anima 2.5, the key chapter on perception, a reading that now serves as the starting point for much contemporary discussion (Burnyeat 2002). Burnyeat himself defends the spiritualist position (Burnyeat 1992; Burnyeat 1995). Richard Sorabji is the most well known defender of the literalist intepretation (Sorabji 1992). Hendrik Lorenz has offered an intermediate position, emphasizing that the De Anima is primarily about the soul and thus we should not take Aristotle's emphasis on pscyhic changes as equivalent to denying the need for related physical or material changes (Lorenz 2007). Caston gives a helpful overview of the debate (Caston 2004). T.K. Johansen gives an overall account of the sense organs (Johansen 1997) while Mark Johnstone has helpful articles on the objects of particular sense modalities and the evidence they give for Aristotle's overall understanding of perception (Johnstone 2012Johnstone 2013). Johansen's book on the powers of the soul offers a detailed account of the way in which phantasia and self-movement depend on perception (Johansen 2012).
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1 — 50 / 329
  1. Al-Kindī’s Argument for the Finitude of Time in His Critique of Aristotle’s Theory of the Eternity of the World in the Treatise on First Philosophy: The Role of the Perceiving Soul and the Relation Between Sensation and Intellection.Ahmed Abdel Meguid - 2018 - Journal of Islamic Studies 29 (3):323-356.
    The study presents a new interpretation of Abū Yaʿqūb al-Kindī’s refutation, in the Treatise on First Philosophy, of Aristotle’s theory of the eternity of the world. Critiquing Herbert Davidson’s classical position that al-Kindī’s three refutations in the Treatise are reformulations of John Philoponus’s in the Contra Aristotelem, the study shows that while al-Kindī’s first and third proofs intersect with Philoponus’s the second one does not. The first part of the study examines the concept of perceptual being and shows that al-Kindī’s (...)
  2. Aristotle on Emotions and Contemporary Psychology.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2001 - In D. Sfendoni-Mentzou J. Hattiangdi & D. Johnson (eds.), Aristotle and Contemporary Science. Peter Lang. pp. 226-235.
    In De Anima, Aristotle, following his predecessor Plato, argues that the human soul has two parts, the rational and the irrational. Yet, unlike Plato, he thinks that the two parts necessarily form a unity. This is mostly evident in emotions, which seem to be constituted by both, a cognitive element, such as beliefs and expectations about one's situation, as well as, non-cognitive elements such as physical sensations. Indeed, in de Anima Aristotle argues that beliefs, bodily motion and physiological changes, constitute (...)
  3. Place of the Soul in the Philosophies of Aristotle and Mulla Sadra.Reza Akbabrian & Abulhassan Ghaffari - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 56.
    Aristotle discusses the soul in itself in metaphysics, and as its relation to the body in physics. This issue originates in the division of sciences in Aristotle's works. The same trend continues in the works of the philosophers following him. Although Farabi presented a new classification of sciences, he maintained the main form of Aristotle's divisions and posed the related problems like him. Based on his fundamental theories, including the principiality of existence, gradation of being, and the trans-substantial motion, Mulla (...)
  4. On Aristotle's "on Sense Perception". Alexander - 2000 - Cornell University Press.
  5. Getting in Touch. Aristotelian Diagnostics.Emmanuel Alloa - 2015 - In Richard Kearney & Brian Treanor (eds.), Carnal Hermeneutics. Fordham. pp. 57-72.
  6. Das durchscheinende Bild. Konturen einer medialen Phänomenologie.Emmanuel Alloa - 2011 - diaphanes.
  7. Metaxu.Emmanuel Alloa - 2009 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 62 (2):247.
    Depuis la renaissance des études aristotéliciennes avec Werner Jaeger, on a souvent observé la fréquence lexicographique des termes dénotant la médiété et la médiation dans le corpus aristotélicien. Cette récurrence a cependant généralement été traitée comme un effet homonymique, rien ne permettant de relier a priori la médiété éthique, le terme intermédiaire en logique ou encore le milieu perceptif. Et pourtant, le fait qu'Aristote s'interroge lui-même sur cette « plurivocité » du médium peut être lu comme une indication que, sous (...)
  8. Aristotle on Perception.D. Z. Andriopoulos - 1993 - Philosophical Inquiry 15 (3-4):85-98.
  9. Did Aristotle Assume a Sense-Data Theory?D. Z. Andriopoulos - 1979 - Philosophical Inquiry 1 (2):125-128.
  10. Resenha de Razão e Sensação em Aristóteles. [REVIEW]Lucas Angioni - 1998 - Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência 8:189-201.
  11. A Commentary on Aristotle's ’de Anima'.Thomas Aquinas - 1999 - Yale University Press.
    This new translation of Thomas Aquinas’s most important study of Aristotle casts bright light on the thinking of both philosophers. Using a new text of Aquinas’s original Latin commentary, Robert Pasnau provides a precise translation that will enable students to undertake close philosophical readings. He includes an introduction and notes to set context and clarify difficult points as well as a translation of the medieval Latin version of Aristotle’s _De anima _ so that readers can refer to the text Aquinas (...)
  12. On Memory and Reminiscence. Aristotle - unknown
  13. On Sense and the Sensible. Aristotle - unknown
  14. On Sense and Sensibilia. Aristotle - unknown
  15. On the Soul. Aristotle - unknown
  16. De Somniis. Aristotle - unknown
  17. On Dreams. Aristotle - unknown
  18. On the Soul: And Other Psychological Works. Aristotle - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Aristotle's De Anima is one of the great classics of philosophy. Aristotle examines the nature of the soul-sense-perception, imagination, cognition, emotion, and desire, including, memory, dreams, and processes such as nutrition, growth, and death.
  19. L'anima. Aristotle - 2006 - Aracne.
  20. Parva Naturalia. ARISTOTLE - 1955 - Clarendon Press.
  21. De Sensu and De Memoria. Aristotle - 1906 - New York: Arno Press.
  22. De anima. Aristotle & C. D. C. Reeve - 1956 - Oxford University Press.
    Please note, this is the original Greek text. The Oxford Classical texts, of Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxeniensis, are renowned for their reliability and presentation.
  23. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Iesu, in Tres Libros de Anima Aristotelis Stagiritae.Colégio das Artes, Cosme de Aristotle, Baltasar Magalhaens, Lazarus Alvarez & Zetzner - 1603 - Impensis Lazari Zetzneri.
  24. Mistakes of Reason: Practical Reasoning and the Fallacy of Accident.Allan Bäck - 2009 - Phronesis 54 (2):101-135.
    For Aristotle the fallacy of accident arises from mistakes about being per accidens and not from accidental predication. Mistakes in perceiving per accidens come from our judgements about being per accidens and so commit that fallacy. Practical syllogisms have the same formal structure as being and perceiving per accidens . Moreover perceiving per accidens typically provides the minor premise for the practical syllogism as it makes it possible for us to know singular propositions, especially those about substances. Thus these minor (...)
  25. A Ristotle on Perception and Ratios.Andrew Barker - 1981 - Phronesis 26 (3):248-266.
  26. Aristotle on Perception. [REVIEW]Jonathan Barnes - 1999 - The Classical Review 49 (01):120-122.
  27. Propositional Perception: Phantasia, Predication, and Sign in Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics.Jeffrey Barnouw - 2002 - University Press of America.
    The early Greek Stoics were the first philosophers to recognize the object of normal human perception as predicative or propositional in nature. Fundamentally we do not perceive qualities or things, but situations and things happening, facts. To mark their difference from Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics adopted phantasia as their word for perception.
  28. Aristotle on Perceptual Truth and Falsity.Aaron Ben-Zeev - 1984 - Apeiron 18 (2):118 - 125.
  29. Un Esempio di Tradizione: La Tradizione Aristotelica.Enrico Berti - 2012 - Philosophical News 5.
    The Aristotelian tradition in a sense is constituted by the history of Aristotelianism, i. e. by the philosophies of those who declared themselves Aristotle’s followers, even if in fact they hardly ever have been completely such. But in another sense the Aristotelian tradition is formed by the patrimony of concepts, distinctions, definitions, of which not only the philosophy, but also the culture in general, and even the common language, made use for millennia and of which still now they make use: (...)
  30. Aristotle's Analysis of Perception.Paolo C. Biondi - 2010 - Laval Théologique et Philosophique 66 (1):13-32.
    Ce texte examine l’affirmation d’Aristote qui se trouve dans les Seconds Analytiques II 19, que la perception porte sur l’universel. L’examen s’effectuera par le biais du De Anima II 6 et III 6-8 où Aristote décrit les objets de la perception et de l’intellect. L’auteur soutient que selon Aristote, la perception humaine porte toujours sur l’universel contenu dans le particulier parce que l’unité de la substance individuelle est garante de l’unité de l’acte de perception. Par conséquent, l’analyse en termes de (...)
  31. Aristotle on Illusory Perception: Phantasia Without Phantasmata.Noell Birondo - 2001 - Ancient Philosophy 21 (1):57-71.
    In De Anima III.3 Aristotle presents his official discussion of phantasia (“imagination” in most translations). At the very outset of the discussion Aristotle offers as an endoxon that “phantasia is that in virtue of which we say that a phantasma occurs to us” (428a1-2). Now a natural reading of this claim, taken up by many commentators, can pose a problem for Aristotle’s overall account of perception. Here I argue that, although it would be silly to deny that Aristotle considers phantasia (...)
  32. Averroes on the Imagination and the Intellect.Michael A. Blaustein - 1984 - Dissertation, Harvard University
    This study describes the theory of the intellect presented by the Spanish Muslim philosopher Averroes . The study differs from previous treatments of this theme first by using all the available sources--the commentaries and related essays by Averroes on Aristotle's De Anima--and second, by approaching the teaching on the intellect as a part of Averroes's view of the soul as a whole. The rarely studied expositions of sensation and imagination are indispensable for understanding the account of the intellect, for they (...)
  33. Aristotle on Memory and Recollection: Text, Translation, Interpretation, and Reception in Western Scholasticism.David Bloch - 2007 - Brill.
    Based on a new critical edition of Aristotle's "De Memoria" and two interpretive essays, this book challenges current views on Aristotle's theories of memory ...
  34. Three German Commentators on the Individual Senses and the Common Sense in Aristotle's Psychology.Irving Block - 1964 - Phronesis 9 (1):58 - 63.
  35. Truth and Error in Aristotle's Theory of Sense Perception.Irving Block - 1961 - Philosophical Quarterly 11 (42):1-9.
    Why does aristotle say that the common sensibles are susceptible to error while the specific sensibles are not? various solutions of this problem are discussed and finally it is concluded that aristotle's meaning here is teleological. The specific senses were fashioned by nature to perceive the specific sensibles but not the common sensibles and so error sometimes (often) creeps in. The common sense is really not a sense faculty as the eye, The ear etc.
  36. Aristotle and the Physical Object.Irving Block - 1960 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (1):93-101.
    HOW WE BECOME AWARE OF PHYSICAL OBJECTS OVER AND ABOVE THE PERCEPTUAL ACTS OF SEEING COLOR, SHAPES AND HEARING SOUNDS, ETC., IS A QUESTION THAT HAS OCCUPIED MANY CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHERS OF SENSE-PERCEPTION. DID ARISTOTLE EVER FACE THIS PROBLEM, AND IF HE DID, HOW DID HE DEAL WITH IT? THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THIS QUESTION AND CONCLUDES THAT THE ANSWER TO IT CAN BE FOUND "DE INSOMNIAS" IN ARISTOTLE'S DISCUSSION OF DREAMS AND ILLUSIONS. THERE IS AN ACT AFFIRMATION ("PHESIN") CARRIED OUT BY (...)
  37. Aristotle, The Power of Perception.Irving L. Block - 1992 - International Studies in Philosophy 24 (1):120-121.
  38. Aristotle on the Common Sense: A Reply to Kahn and Others.Irving L. Block - 1988 - Ancient Philosophy 8 (2):235-249.
  39. Neoplatonic Interpretations of Aristotle on "Phantasia".H. J. Blumenthal - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 31 (2):242 - 257.
  40. Perception Naturalized in Aristotle's de Anima.Robert Bolton - 2005 - In Ricardo Salles (ed.), Metaphysics, Soul, and Ethics in Ancient Thought: Themes From the Work of Richard Sorabji. Clarendon Press.
  41. The Soul's Instrument for Touching in Aristotle, on the Soul II 11, 422b34–423a21.Abraham P. Bos - 2010 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 92 (1):89-102.
    From ancient times Aristotle, On the Soul II 11, 422b34ff. on the perception of touch has remained incomprehensible. We can only start to understand the text when we see that Aristotle, in talking about “the ensouled body” (423a13), means “the soul's instrumental body” and views this as the actual instrument for the perception of touch. The visible body is only an intermediary between the soul-body and the object of touch.
  42. Aristotle on the Difference Between Plants, Animals, and Human Beings and on the Elements as Instruments of the Soul (De Anima 2.4.415b18). [REVIEW]Abraham P. Bos - 2010 - Review of Metaphysics 63 (4):821-841.
    Why do all animals possess sense perception while plants don’t? And should the difference in quality of life between human beings and wolves be explained by supposing that wolves have degenerated souls? This paper argues that for Aristotle differences in quality of life among living beings are based on differences in the quality of their soul-principle together with the body that receives the soul. The paper proposes a new interpretation of On the Soul 2.4.415b18: “For all the natural bodies are (...)
  43. Aristotle on the Perception and Cognition of Time.John Bowin - 2017 - In In History of Philosophy of Mind: Pre-Socratics to Augustine. London: Routledge.
    Aristotle recognizes two modes of apprehending time, viz., perceiving time and grasping time intellectually. This chapter clarifies what is and is not involved in these two modes of apprehending time. It also clarifies the way in which they interact, and argues that, according to Aristotle, one’s intellectual grasp of time has an effect on one’s perception of time for those beings who have intellect.
  44. Aristotle on 'First Transitions' in De Anima II 5.John Bowin - 2012 - Apeiron 45 (3):262-282.
    At De Anima II 5, 417b17, Aristotle says, ‘The first transition (πρώτη μεταβολή) in that which can perceive is brought about by the parent, and when it is born it already has [the faculty of] sense-perception in the same way as it has knowledge. Actual sense-perception is so spoken of in the same way as contemplation.’ The purpose of this paper is to determine the nature of first transitions.
  45. De Anima Ii 5 on the Activation of The Senses.John Bowin - 2012 - Ancient Philosophy 32 (1):87-104.
    This paper offers a new interpretation of Aristotle’s identification, in De Anima 2.5, of αἴσθησις with an ἀλλοίωσίς τις that is not ‘a kind of destruction of something by its contrary’. Drawing on a passage from Metaphysics Iota 5, it argues that when so described, what is referred to as an ἀλλοίωσίς τις is not a uniquely perceptual alteration.
  46. Aristotle on Various Types of Alteration in De Anima II 5.John Bowin - 2011 - Phronesis 56 (2):138-161.
    In De Anima II 5, 417a21-b16, Aristotle makes a number of distinctions between types of transitions, affections, and alterations. The objective of this paper is to sort out the relationships between these distinctions by means of determining which of the distinguished types of change can be coextensive and which cannot, and which can overlap and which cannot. From the results of this analysis, an interpretation of 417a21-b16 is then constructed that differs from previous interpretations in certain important respects, chief among (...)
  47. Aristotle on Perception: The Dual-Logos Theory.David Bradshaw - 1997 - Apeiron 30 (2):143 - 161.
  48. Aristotle on Pre-Platonic Theories of Sense-Perception and Knowledge.Luis Andrés Bredlow - 2010 - Filosofia Unisinos 11 (3):204-224.
  49. Aristotle on Touch.Józef Bremer - 2011 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 16 (1):73-87.
    According Aristotle’s On the Soul, the fi rst and most important form of sensation which we human beings share with other animals is a sense of touch. Without touch animals cannot exist. The fi rst part of my article presents Aristotle’s teaching about the internal connection between the soul and the sensory powers, especially as regards the sense of touch. The second part consists of a collection of the classical considerations about this subject. The third part then deals with the (...)
  50. Sensing and the Sensitive Mean in Aristotle.Sheilah O'Flynn Brennan - 1973 - New Scholasticism 47 (3):279-310.
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