What is Cognition? Peter Auriol’s Account

Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 85 (1):109-134 (2018)
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Abstract

My paper aims at presenting Peter Auriol’s theory of cognition. Auriol holds that cognition is “something which makes an object appear to someone.” This claim, for Auriol, is meant to be indeterminate, as he explicitly says that the “something” in question can refer to any type of being. However, when he states how cognition is “implemented” in cognizers, Auriol specifies what this “something” is: for God, it is simply the deity itself; for creatures, cognition is described as something “absolute,” i.e. non-relational, more precisely a complex entity made up of a cognitive power and a “likeness.” However, one also finds Auriol saying that created cognition, as a “likeness,” is relative. Yet, when Auriol talks of created cognition as something relative, he does not make an ontological claim: he means that one cannot think of cognition without thinking of it as having a relation to an object. In brief, created cognition, for Auriol, is ontologically absolute, but it is always represented together with a relation.

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Hamid Taieb
Humboldt-University, Berlin

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