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Intellection in Aquinas: From Habit to Operation

  • Hamid TaiebEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 7)

Abstract

The aim of my paper is to study the relations between habit and the operation of intellection in Aquinas. I will start with a presentation of the acquisition of intellection and the constitution of intellectual habit. I will then turn to the problem of the reactivation of the “stored” intelligible species, which constitutes the intellectual habit. This reactivation, for Aquinas, is not yet the act of intellection. Indeed, an additional step is required in order for intellection to be achieved, namely an “operation.” I will explain why this additional step is needed. In his later works, following Augustine, Aquinas holds that the operation of the intellect, besides the use of the species, entails the production of another means of cognition: the “word.” I will argue in favour of the view that the later Aquinas does not abandon the first type of intellectual operation, based only on the species, but maintains both operations in parallel, and that his reason for maintaining these two different operations is that the species and the word provide different kinds of cognition. I will then tackle the complicated question as to how this difference of cognition is to be accounted for at the habitual level.

Keywords

Aquinas Intellection Habit Operation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of HumanitiesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Section of Philosophy, Faculty of HumanitiesUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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