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Chapter 5 - De Anima ii.5

from Part I - Ontology and epistemology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2022

Myles Burnyeat
Affiliation:
All Souls College, Oxford
Carol Atack
Affiliation:
Newnham College, Cambridge
Malcolm Schofield
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
David Sedley
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This is a close scrutiny of De Anima II.5, led by two questions. First, what can be learned from so long and intricate a discussion about the neglected problem of how to read an Aristotelian chapter? Second, what can the chapter, properly read, teach us about some widely debated issues in Aristotle’s theory of perception? I argue that it refutes two claims defended by Martha Nussbaum, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Sorabji: (i) that when Aristotle speaks of the perceiver becoming like the object perceived, the assimilation he has in mind is ordinary alteration of the type exemplified when fire heats the surrounding air, (ii) that this alteration stands to perceptual awareness as matter to form. Claim (i) is wrong because the assimilation that perceiving is is not ordinary alteration. Claim (ii) is wrong because the special type of alteration that perceiving is is not its underlying material realisation. Indeed, there is no mention in the text of any underlying material realisation for perceiving.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Bibliography: De Anima: modern editions, ancient and modern commentaries, modern translations

Barbotin, E. See Jannone, A.Google Scholar
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  • De Anima ii.5
  • Myles Burnyeat, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Prepared for publication by Carol Atack, Newnham College, Cambridge, Malcolm Schofield, University of Cambridge, David Sedley, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009049146.009
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  • De Anima ii.5
  • Myles Burnyeat, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Prepared for publication by Carol Atack, Newnham College, Cambridge, Malcolm Schofield, University of Cambridge, David Sedley, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009049146.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • De Anima ii.5
  • Myles Burnyeat, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Prepared for publication by Carol Atack, Newnham College, Cambridge, Malcolm Schofield, University of Cambridge, David Sedley, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009049146.009
Available formats
×