Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is the Mind? (Part Two)

Jan 18, 2016, 12:00 PM

Concluding our discussion of On the Soul, book 3.

Now that we're done with perception, we get into imagination and then to ""nous"" proper: the contemplative intellect that understands by grasping the ""forms"" of things. This is our gateway to talking about knowledge, because while sensation in the sense of grasping green can't be wrong, once we make a claim like ""this book is green,"" we're bringing in general concepts that can be misapplied, both bookness (maybe this thing really isn't a book) and greenness (maybe it just looks green in this light but isn't really green).

It turns out that nous is the ""form of forms."" It's literally nothing (just pure potential) until it thinks of something, at which point it takes on the form of the thing thought of. And when it's thinking of highfalutin metaphysical concepts, it's not even MY mind or YOUR mind: it's just the universal mind itself thinking, identical to the contents of its thought. Yes, this is weird.

This is a lot to absorb. We recommend that you go back and start with ep. 130, listen through all four hours of us jabbering here, and then sign up to attend the Aftershow on Sunday, 1/31 6pm Eastern time, or watch it happen live.

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End song: "Wonderful You" (live 2001) by an early incarnation of Madison Lint called the Lint Emporium. #philosophy #aristotle #deanima #soul #mind #sensation #imagination #intellect Go to the blog: