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Essays on Aristotle's De Anima$
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Martha C. Nussbaum and Amélie Oksenberg Rorty

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198236009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019823600X.001.0001

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Aristotle on Thinking

Aristotle on Thinking

(p.359) 19 Aristotle on Thinking
Essays on Aristotle's De Anima

Charles H. Ahn

Oxford University Press

This essay discusses Aristotle’s theory of the intellect (nous), which is often neglected or misunderstood. It focuses on two doctrines in the theory of intellect: Doctrine One (D1) claims that nous is essentially incorporeal and has no bodily organ; and Doctrine Two (D2) is the thesis that the intellect in act is identical with its intelligible object. It is argued that D1 is incompatible with the general definition of psuchē, and that the appearance of conflict between D1 and the need for phantasms can be removed by distinguishing between noetic faculty and concrete acts of human thinking. D2 can shed light on the relationship of the nous and empirical consciousness in ordinary thinking, to sharpen the contrast between Aristotle’s view and post-Cartesian philosophy of mind.

Keywords:   Aristotle, intellect, De Anima, mind, thinking

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