The Unity of Sense-Power in the De anima and Parva naturalia

  • Giuseppe Feola
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 17)


The paper addresses the puzzle of the identity of the so called sensus communis in Aristotle’s writings, trying to provide a systematic account of Aristotle’s doctrine and to show why and how Aristotle’s theory about the common sensory power is a landmark in the history of philosophical psychology. In my interpretation, some ideas about the cooperation between different sense-powers, which were already outlined in the De anima, but which could not be developed there, are construed in a systematic way in the Parva naturalia. The line of reasoning followed by Aristotle brings him to postulate the existence of a single sense-power, whose activity unifies all the cognitive activities of the animal. The paper addresses also the problem of the solution provided by Aristotle to the problem of consciousness, trying to answer to the puzzle of the very different solutions that the De anima and the Parva naturalia give of this problem.



I would like to thank my commentator at the conference, Péter Lautner, for his very careful critical remarks about the first draft of this paper, and the editors for their remarks about the second draft.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giuseppe Feola
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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