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Commentary On Vasiliou

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image of Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy

This commentary welcomes Prof. Vasiliou’s adoption of an “objects first” method for the analysis of nous in Aristotle as well as his suggestion that there are three distinct levels of nous for the essences of material things, mathematical things, and immaterial things. It queries his claim that nous is not to be understood as a faculty, citing texts in which Aristotle uses “that by which” language to describe nous. It suggests that ordinary human beings have what may be called a functional grasp of essences, and that, while some of Aristotle’s uses of nous and noein may be highly technical, his aim in De Anima III 4 is to explain an operation that is widely shared among human beings. The commentary concludes by expressing the wish that Prof. Vasiliou had said more about the case in which nous is its own object.


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