Active Intellect in Aristotle,

Topics: Perception, Nous, Aristotle Pages: 3 (1058 words) Published: October 8, 1999
All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight". This is the foundation of human knowledge Aristotle presents us with in Book Alpha of the Metaphysics. The next question which we must naturally ask ourselves is, How? How is it that we can have any knowledge at all? We by our very nature desire to know and we love the senses in themselves but what is the relationship between the two and by what faculty are we able to call anything knowledge once sense perception has occurred? Aristotle sets up as his faculty for knowledge both the active and the passive intellects. We begin to have knowledge through sense experience. We cannot know without sense experienceand it is from sense experience that all knowledge is therefore generated. Knowledge for Aristotle is a knowledge of universals, that is, a knowledge of Essences. Thought is thus the faculty by which we come to comprehend universals. And since material objects are a composite unity of essence and existence, it naturally follows that we grasp the universal through our encounter with the particular. What follows is a series of events which leads to knowledge. The passive intellect receives the image from the sense data and it is stamped upon the passive intellect from the material impression. From this stamp the active intellect is to draw out of it and somehow make a universal concept from this particular experience. But there is something more at work here. There is something in the mind ( more specifically in the soul) that somehow comprehends and makes universals intelligible. Various theories have been postulated concerning this but we shall concentrate on Aristotle and leave the other philosophies for now. What is at work in man is a divine reason immanent in man's soul. Somehow man is connected to and shares in divine reason. A distinction...
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