Aristotle on Intelligent Perception

Philosophers' Imprint (forthcoming)
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Aristotle presents perception as a potentially intelligent form of cognition—a form of cognition that allows us to respond in knowing ways to a range of different situations, or to develop certain insights into some topic of scientific inquiry. But it’s not clear how we should understand the interaction between our rational and perceptual powers in these cases, or how widespread we should take their interaction to be. In this paper I argue against views on which human perception would always involve the use of our rational powers, or on which the value of our perceptual powers would always be understood in terms of the rational modes of thought they might promote. I then develop an alternative account of intelligent perception that seeks to do justice to the role Aristotle assigns nonrational uses of perception in his account of our learning, and to his emphasis on the continuity between animal and human forms of cognition.
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Archival date: 2022-01-11
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