The Intellect and the Limits of Naturalism

Thomas Kjeller Johansen

in The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658435
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742231 | DOI:
The Intellect and the Limits of Naturalism

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The various kinds of intellect display different relationships to the body, in ways that affect their relationship to natural philosophy. Thinking about compound substances, such as flesh, requires phantasmata, which involves bodily changes. Thinking itself is, nonetheless, only existentially dependent on matter, not explanatorily. Thinking about immaterial forms, meanwhile, does not require bodily changes. Thinking allows for the distinction between the passive intellect, the ability to receive intelligible forms, and the agent intellect. The latter is best understood as the eternal and divine activity of thinking, which, as the best and happiest form of being, motivates the human rational desire to think actively. The agent intellect is considered by psychology as a presupposition of human thinking, rather in the manner god as a first mover is brought in as a requirement for change in the Phys.

Keywords: intellect; nous; logos; imagination; god; natural philosophy

Chapter.  15303 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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