This volume, including sixteen contributions, analyses ancient and medieval theories of intentionality in various contexts: perception, imagination, and intellectual thinking. It sheds new light on classical theories and examines neglected sources, both Greek and Latin.
Although Aristotle’s name is regularly mentioned when it comes to the question of where the notion of the will historically derives from and although one of the most influential exponents of philosophical theories of the will, Thomas Aquinas, seems to think that he is just applying the Aristotelian theory, many historians of philosophy explicitly deny that Aristotle had a notion of the will. If we think that the notion of the will is among the notions that have been gradually developed (...) in the history of philosophy, nothing is strange about saying that some philosophers prior to this development lacked this particular notion. However, Aristotle’s case is peculiar, because the same historians, who are reluctant to describe such a notion to Aristotle, admit that he played some role in the formation of the same notion. The line-up of more or less recent philosophers and scholars who are of the opinion that Aristotle had no notion of the will is a very remarkable one. This could almost be called a standard or default position, while the list of exponents of the opposed position, i.e. that Aristotle did have a notion or theory of the will, is much shorter. (shrink)
Although he does not provide a general analysis of argumentation, Aristotle is a highly influential source of modern argumentation theory. In his treatises the Topics, the Sophistical Refutations and the Rhetoric, Aristotle presents complementary aspects of a theory of sound arguments that are seen as the most effective means of persuasion. Aristotle’s central notion of a deductive argument (sullogismos) does not include references to an addressee, the situative context or non-verbal aspects of communication, and thus differs from some modern views (...) on argumentation. A deductive argument in the Aristotelian sense is a sequence of intellectual steps where the conclusion follows of necessity from the premises. Aristotle does not relativize or relax this notion but takes other factors into account by providing supplementary theoretical elements. For example, he reflects on acceptable premises (endoxa), the adjustment of rhetorical arguments to the horizon of the audience, methods of finding premises on the basis of argumentative schemes (topoi), the use of non-argumentative means of persuasion, and a framework of implicit discourse rules. Many of these themes are, albeit under a different name, still discussed in modern argumentation theory. (shrink)
In the epistemology of his middle period, Plato repeatedly describes the alleged ‘intellection of true reality’ in terms of sight, vision, illumination, or touch. Does this show more than Plato’s preference for optic and haptic metaphors? Should we assume that this goes back to a specific reason to be found in his underlying epistemological position? On the traditional reading, Plato actually wants to defend a sort of intuitionism. According to this still wide-spread reading, he claims that there is a very (...) particular way of grasping Forms: Philosophers manage to come into a sort of direct contact with intelligible objects. Intellection is thus conceived as a quasi-visual presence of intelligible Forms. In our contribution, we want to challenge this interpretation by raising several objections against it. Surprisingly, there exists a close parallel in Aristotelian scholarship: Although Aristotle’s epistemology is built on considerably different foundations, there is an interpretative tradition according to which one has to assume a strict discontinuity between the methodical procedure and the intellection of the highest epistemic objects. As for Plato, we want to refuse an interpretation of Aristotle based on a concept of intuition characterized by the following features: Intuition is a specific way of gaining knowledge. It is independent of empirical conditions and leads to apriori knowledge. It consists of some experience of evidence or is accompanied by it. Knowledge gained by this kind of intuition does not need any further argument or justification. (shrink)