Peter John Olivi and Peter Auriol on Conceptual Thought


Authors
Han Thomas Adriaenssen
University of Groningen
Abstract
This paper explores the accounts of conceptual thought of Peter John Olivi (1248–1298) and Peter Auriol (1280–1322). While both thinkers are known for their criticism of representationalist theories of perception, it is argued that they part ways when it comes to analyzing conceptual cognition. To account for the human capacity for conceptual thought, Olivi is happy to make a number of concessions to indirect realist theories of representation. Insofar as he criticizes a specific branch of indirect realism about conceptual thought, he does so for theological rather than strictly epistemological reasons. This goes to qualify recent philosophical interpretations of Olivi’s ‘Tractatus de verbo.’ By contrast, Auriol’s account of conceptual thought is thoroughly direct realist. According to Auriol, the natures of external things themselves appear to us directly in conceptual cognition, without the mediation of inner images or other representational devices.
Keywords Peter John Olivi  Peter Auriol  concepts  representation  direct realism
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