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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

Postal Subscription Code 80-983

Front. Philos. China    2014, Vol. 9 Issue (2) : 229-240
research-article |
Aristotle, the Intellect, and Cognition
Thomas M. Robinson()
Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8, Canada
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It is argued in this paper that the famous “Active Intellect” of De Anima 3.5 is not God, as Alexander of Aphrodisias held, but rather an unchanging, eternally cognizing Intellect which serves as the indispensable condition for the operation of human intellect. It is “at the door” for each individual, ready to flow in as a stream of light—a light which renders potential objects of cognition knowable, just as visible light makes potentially visible objects visible—from outside that door (thyrathen) any time it is opened. Its existence cannot serve, however, as a proof of the immortality of human intellect, since, being unchanging, it can never possess a feature of human intellect which is characterized by nothing if not change, and that is memory.

Keywords Active Intellect      Aristotle      cognition      dualism      essentialism      immortality      memory      perception      Prime Mover      soul     
Issue Date: 04 July 2014
 Cite this article:   
Thomas M. Robinson. Aristotle, the Intellect, and Cognition[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(2): 229-240.
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