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Article
Theophrastus and the Intellect as Mixture
Elenchos
  • Myrna Gabbe, University of Dayton
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2008
Abstract

De Anima III 5 introduces one of Aristotle’s most perplexing doctrines. In this short and obscure chapter, Aristotle distinguishes between an intellect that becomes all things, the so-called potential intellect, and an intellect that makes all things, the so-called productive intellect (430a14-15). It is generally held that the intellect that becomes all things is described in De Anima III 4, since Aristotle there tells us that the intellect knows by becoming its objects (429a15-18). This intellect has acquired the title “potential intellect” since it must be potentially the objects of thought in order to become and think the objects of thought (429a18-24). But scholars do not agree on what these intellects are, what they do or how they relate to each other. The main point of contention arises with respect to the productive intellect’s mode of existence – in particular, whether it is transcendent or immanent. This paper concerns Theophrastus’ interpretation of De Anima III 4 and 5, because those familiar with his writings tend to agree that he holds the key to resolving this 2,300-year-old debate.

Inclusive pages
61-90
ISBN/ISSN
0392-7342
Document Version
Postprint
Comments

The document available for download is the author's accepted manuscript, provided with the permission of the author. Publisher policy on self-archiving is unknown.

Publisher
Bibliopolis
Peer Reviewed
Yes
Disciplines
Citation Information
Myrna Gabbe. "Theophrastus and the Intellect as Mixture" Elenchos Vol. 29 (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/myrna-gabbe/5/