The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Michael Wedin in his “Tracking Aristotle’s Nous’’ wishes to argue that the most plausible interpretation of De Anima, Book III, chapter 5 is . .that these chapters provide the essentials of a thoroughly finitistic account of individual noetic activity.” I want to argue that Wedin’s account is not the most plausible interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of individual noetic activity. I think Wedin’s interpretation misses a crucial distinction between the actualization of mind and the being of mind, insofar as he argues that mind is identical simpliciter with its object in the act of knowing when in fact, for Aristotle, mind is only identical with its object qua second actualization in the act of knowing but they are never identical in being, for example, the being of mind is such that it is capable of taking on any intelligible form in the act of knowledge) whereas the objects of knowledge are not capable of this. I will argue that making this crucial distinction helps us understand what Aristotle is saying in the notoriously difficult chapter 5 of Book ΠΙ.


Michael Bowler preented “Thinking, Thought and Nous in Aristotle’s De Anima” to the Society at its meeting with the Pacific Division in Albuquerque in 2000

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