Why the View of Intellect in De Anima I 4 Isn’t Aristotle’s Own

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
In De Anima I 4, Aristotle describes the intellect (nous) as a sort of substance, separate and incorruptible. Myles Burnyeat and Lloyd Gerson take this as proof that, for Aristotle, the intellect is a separate eternal entity, not a power belonging to individual humans. Against this reading, I show that this passage does not express Aristotle’s own views, but dialectically examines a reputable position (endoxon) about the intellect that seems to show that it can be subject to change. The passage’s argument for the indestructibility of intellect via an analogy to perception does not fit with Aristotle’s own views. Aristotle thinks that perception operates via bodily organs, but denies this of understanding. He also requires separability from the body for indestructibility, something this analogy rules out. However, Aristotle’s Platonist interlocutors may well endorse such an argument. My dialectical interpretation best resolves the interpretative difficulties and explains its place in the larger context, Aristotle’s discussion of Platonist views on the soul. Aristotle presents a challenge to his insistence that the soul is subject to change, dialectically resolves that challenge, and then ends by reserving the right to give a different account of the intellect.
Reprint years
2017, 2018
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
COHWTV
Revision history
First archival date: 2017-09-19
Latest version: 2 (2018-02-16)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Nous in Aristotle's De Anima.Caleb Murray Cohoe - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):594-604.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2017-09-19

Total views
90 ( #22,976 of 38,051 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
28 ( #13,652 of 38,051 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.