The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Aristotle sometimes draws analogies between perceiving and thinking. One analogy, for example, concerns the relation holding between faculties and their objects. If thinking is like perceiving, then as the faculty of perception is to the object perceived, so too the faculty of thought is to the intelligible object. Of course, there are also disanalogies between perception and thought. For example, where perception requires external stimulation by sensible substances, thought does not generally require external stimulation. How far then might we push the analogy? In this essay, I’ll argue that the role of the agent intellect in thought is analogous to the role of perceiving that we see and hear in perception.


Phil Corkum presented “Aristotle on Consciousness” to the Society at its meeting with the American Philological Association in Boston in 2005. It has been superseded by “Attention, Perception and Thought in Aristotle” in Dialogue (2010) 42: 199-222,.

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