250 A parallel with de Anima III, 5 ROSAMOND KENT SPRAGUE o much has been written on the Active and Passive Intellect of de Anima III, 5, that it may seem otiose to add anything further. I think however that there is one parallel not utilized by the commentators' which may do something to clarify the rather peculiar nature of the Active Intellect and, more especially, to eplain the comparison between the Active Intellect and light. Aristotle's distinction between the Active and the Passive Intellects is, in spite of its theological implications, basically espistemological in intent. This fact is given a particularly clear exposition by G. E. R. Lloyd when he sets out the contents of III, 5 as follows :2 Mode of cognition [Sight] [Reasoning] Object [Visible forms] [Intelligible forms] Recipient [Eye] Passive reason Necessary precondition Light 'Active' reason The analogy between intellectual activity and physical light is at least as old as Parmenides, and probably much older. But Aristotle may possibly be building upon one particular notable example: the Sun analogy in Republic VI 507 a ff. If we set out this analogy in similar tabular form, the parallel with de Anima III, 5 is certainly
Phronesis – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1972
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