Review of Metaphysics 67 (2):311-344 (2013)

Juan José Sanguineti
Pontifical University Of The Holy Cross
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 self-awareness of the mind which was held by Augustine. A more ontological view is taken from the Neoplatonic notion of complete reflexivity of the intellectual soul upon its own essence as a manifestation of total immateriality and self-possession, which is a higher way of existing and living. Thus, the modern idea of self-consciousness is not absent in the Thomistic account of self-understanding, though the term “conscience” was reserved to the moral judgment upon one’s actions as right or wrong. The Thomistic distinction between habitual existential self-knowledge, which is an intellectual experience including perception and judgment, and scientific and abstract human self-knowledge, is useful and provides insight to the ontological value of existential self-knowledge. The last part of the paper argues that according to Aquinas there is a deep connection between self-knowledge and self-love, provided they are rooted on truth and virtue. This point has many consequence in the notion of shared self-awareness and mutual joy in friendship. The author concludes as well that a genuine self-understanding is possible only in friendship based upon virtue
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph2013672114
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,156
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Hylomorphism, Intentionality, and Prior's Puzzle.Fr Andrew Younan - 2021 - New Blackfriars 102 (1098):174-188.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Look at Inner Sense in Aquinas.Anthony J. Lisska - 2006 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:1-19.
A Look at Inner Sense in Aquinas: A Long-Neglected Faculty Psychology.Anthony J. Lisska - 2006 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:1-19.
Sensation in Aristotle: Some Problematic Contemporary Interpretations and a Medieval Solution.Turner C. Nevitt - 2013 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 87:195-211.
Aquinas' Transcendences to Aristotle in the Doctrine of Essence.Dezhi Duan - 2007 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (4):572-582.
Potentially Human? Aquinas on Aristotle on Human Generation.José Filipe Silva - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):3-21.
The Construction of Ontological Categories.Jan Westerhoff - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):595 – 620.
Aquinas and Themistius on Intellect.Lorelle Lamascus - 2006 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:255-273.
Aquinas on the Individuation of Non-Living Substances.Christopher M. Brown - 2001 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:237-254.


Added to PP index

Total views
24 ( #433,663 of 2,411,818 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #188,160 of 2,411,818 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes