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Receptive Reason: Alexander of Aphrodisias on Material Intellect

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According to Alexander of Aphrodisias, our potential intellect is a purely receptive capacity. Alexander also claims that, in order for us to actualise our intellectual potentiality, the intellect needs to abstract what is intelligible from enmattered perceptible objects. Now a problem emerges: How is it possible for a purely receptive capacity to perform such an abstraction? It will be argued that even though Alexander’s reaction to this question causes some tension in his theory, the philosophical motivation for it is a sound one. Rather than a calculation of actualities and potentialities, the doctrine of receptivity is supposed to explain how human beings come to grasp universal aspects of reality in an accurate manner.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy P.O. Box 35, 40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Email: miira.tuominen@helsinki.fi

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/content/journals/10.1163/156852810x489058
2010-03-01
2016-12-06

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