This paper will present a view of Aristotle's understanding of the relation of human intellect to human body in De Anima III. The picture given will be drawn in rather broad strokes, and although I find it a plausible one, I have not (and could not have, in this space) attempted the detailed defense necessary to render it solidly convincing. I put it forward as an interpretative hypothesis to be confirmed or disconfirmed by close study of Aristotle's text and by other scholars' arguments. The present task is to make the picture as clear as possible at this stage. 1. In An. HI 4, Aristotle introduces intellect, "the part of the soul by which it [sc. the soul] knows and understands," as being XwptaT6V (separable or separate) either Kara p,Eye9os (spatially) or Kate X6yOv (merely in formula) (429a10-12). At once a distinction is in play between a merely definitional sense and a presumably ontological sense in which intellect might be separate or separable. But we are not explicitly told the other term of the separation-relation. We may wonder whether separability from the body (in either sense) is the question here. It is a question which Aristotle raised at
Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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