Aristotelian Subjectivism: Francisco Suárez’s Philosophy of Perception

Springer Verlag (2021)
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This monograph presents new material on Francisco Suárez’s comprehensive theory of sense perception. The core theme is perceptual intentionality in Suárez’s theory of the senses, external and internal, as presented in his Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in libros Aristotelis De anima published in 1621. The author targets the question of the multistage genesis of perceptual acts by considering the ontological “items” involved in the procession of sensory information. However, the structural issue is not left aside, and the nature of the relationship due to which our perceptions are mental representations of this or that object is also considered. The heuristic historiographical background includes not only the theories of classical authors, such as Aristotle and Aquinas, but also those of late medieval authors of the fourteenth century. These are headed by John Duns Scotus, John of Jandun, Peter Auriol and Peter John Olivi. Readers will discover the differences between Suárez’s and Aquinas’s views, as well as other sources that may have served as positive inspiration for the Jesuit’s theory. By considering the late medieval philosophy of the fourteenth century, this book helps, to a certain extent, to fill a gap in the historiography of philosophy regarding the link between late medieval and early modern scholasticism. In the first part of the book, the metaphysics of the soul and powers is considered. Chapters on the external senses follow, covering topics such as the sensible species, the causes of sensation, self-awareness, and the ordering of the external senses. A further chapter is devoted to the internal senses and the author argues that by reducing the number and functional scope of the interior senses Suárez deepens the gap between the external senses and the intellect, but he reduces it through emphasizing the unifying efficacy of the soul.This book brings a synthetic and unifying perspective to contemporary research and will particularly appeal to graduate students and researchers in theology and philosophy, especially philosophy of mind.



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Metaphysics of the Soul, Its Parts and Powers

A philosophy of perception presupposes many metaphysical assumptions. Leaving aside now those that come from the side of objects, such as the ontological status of the proper sensibles and their representational forms, the general premises on the perceiver’s side, namely the soul, its parts and the ... see more

External Senses II

Having treated the cognition of the sentient part of the soul and of the external senses considered ‘in communi’ , in CDA disp. 7 Suárez embarks on the large subject matter of the particular sensory modalities. Unlike the two preceding disputations, CDA disp. 7 also extends its thematic focus to nat... see more

External Senses I

CDA disputation 5 initiates a long segment of five disputations dedicated to cognitive theory. Like his affective theory , cognitive theory follows the pattern from a general consideration to a particular consideration, in which various cognitive modalities are discussed according to their specifici... see more


The goal of this book is to reconstruct the complex philosophical theory of sense perception of Francisco Suárez , which is presented in his Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in libros Aristotelis De anima. There is no such comprehensive and complex study available as yet in international scholarshi... see more


The representative features of Suárez’s philosophy of perception as investigated in Chaps. 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this book can be summarized as follows:

Internal Senses

Our perceptual experience is far from being completed by the operations of the external senses. It is not a simple process through which we perceive isolated ‘sense data’ or discrete psychological atoms, such as colours, sounds, odours and sapours. Beside the external senses, which perceive the prop... see more

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Suárez and Some Baroque Scotists on the Perceptual Self-Awareness.Daniel Heider - 2022 - Anales Del Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía 39 (1):193-202.

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