Ancient Philosophy 12-03-04 9:13 PM
February 6th, 2012
De Anima (Continuation)
• From a sensible form in us to the seeing of an intelligible form that
is only available through intellection, not sensation.
• This form has to be cognized universally, to cognize it is not to
identify with any particular thing
• The intelligible form is present in the intellect, and the awareness of
the presence of the form.
• Just sensing something, is only possible if the one who senses of
the state is the identical with the one who is in the state. Ex: Your
awareness of a headache is awareness of the state of the one who
is having a headache. This is an example of self-awareness.
• Your intellect cant be material, it cant be an activity of a
material thing. Because if your soul was material, an activity
of your brain for example, then the presence of the form
would have to be something like an electro chemical state in
• Self reflexivity is impossible for a physical entity. We have at least
part of us that is not material.
• Relate to Plato's Phaedo
• Aristotle thought the brain was a cooling system, and thought that
the thinking happened in the chest.
• Four Causes Interpretation:
o The brain is the matter for intellection.
o Doesn’t tell us how the form of thinking is related to the
• There still is a problem of how its possible to go from sense
perception and imagination (sensible forms) to intellection
(intelligible forms). Ex: Seeing shades of red, to grasping redness.
o Plato: Doctrine of recollection
o Aristotle’s answer to the problem is very s, we have what he
calls an active or agent intellect, an intellect which when it is
separated from our helomorphic composite, which is eternally
cognizing forms (actualizing the activity of intellection).
o Aristotle and Plato have a lot in common. Aristotle later says
something deeply Platonic, that this intellect is what we are.
• Criticisms of Plato are pervasive in the Metaphysics
• Aristotle doesn't call his work the metaphysics, what he means is
that it is the third science beyond physics and math.
• The study of unchangeable things qua unchangeable.
• They must exist, if they didn’t exist then there couldn’t be a study
• If it was the case that God didn’t exist, it could still be the case that
the study would exist if there are some other unchanging
o Plato’s Forms and Mathematical Entities
! A part of A’s criticisms of Plato is that he rejects these
as alternatives. If Gods couldn’t exist then there could
be no study of such things. Physics would be “First
! It is the study of the "ultimate explanations of things”
• Hetero-explicability vs. Auto-explicability
• A: All human beings desire episteme (knowledge)
• Understanding ultimately means attaining the auto-explicable.
• Aristotle identifies it of the Science of Ultimate Causes, or First
• Book 1 is a survey of his predecessors
o Some of our knowledge of the Pre-socratics comes from this
book, and other knowledge from the Socratic dialogues
o When he came to write the Metaphysics, he had to confront
Plato’s version of wisdom.
! The idea of the Good, the demi urge.
o Kinds of Criticisms:
! Based upon Plato’s Views in Themselves
" More damaging, to find something internally
incoherent in the work.
! Based upon Aristotle's own Views