The idea that Thomas Aquinas completely rejected the Neoplatonic account of knowledge has gained firm footing in scholarship. After a ground-breaking study by Étienne Gilson, scholars have increasingly paid attention to Thomas’ attitude towards the doctrine that makes intellectual knowledge arise in us via the conjunction between our potential intellect and an active, separate Intellect that causes the intelligibile forms to be present to our mind. Having as his main focus the ‘Averroist’ potential intellect as a unique entity shared by all the individual souls, Thomas shows comparatively little concern for the unicity, and causal role of the Agent Intellect. Still, he deals with this Agent Intellect from his earlier works onwards, and the fact that he does not reject completely the causality by ‘illumination’ that this principle is credited with by some catholici doctores (possibly William of Auvergne) has been accounted for in various ways. There is scholarly consensus that Thomas’ mature epistemological doctrine implies complete rejection of knowledge by participation. This article challenges this view by discussing De Ver., 10, 6, where Thomas maintains that the lumen of the active intellect as a faculty of our individual soul proceeds in us a substantiis separatis et praecipue a Deo. It is argued here that the same position is held by Thomas in one of his latest writings, the commentary on the Liber de Causis, where knowledge by participation resurfaces as an uncontroversial tenet. This undermines the idea that Thomas completely rejected any element of Neoplatonism in his account of knowledge.

Elementi di neoplatonismo nella teoria della conoscenza di Tommaso d’Aquino (Q.d. De Veritate, 10, 6 e Super librum de causis, prop. 13[14])

D'ANCONA, CRISTINA
2016

Abstract

The idea that Thomas Aquinas completely rejected the Neoplatonic account of knowledge has gained firm footing in scholarship. After a ground-breaking study by Étienne Gilson, scholars have increasingly paid attention to Thomas’ attitude towards the doctrine that makes intellectual knowledge arise in us via the conjunction between our potential intellect and an active, separate Intellect that causes the intelligibile forms to be present to our mind. Having as his main focus the ‘Averroist’ potential intellect as a unique entity shared by all the individual souls, Thomas shows comparatively little concern for the unicity, and causal role of the Agent Intellect. Still, he deals with this Agent Intellect from his earlier works onwards, and the fact that he does not reject completely the causality by ‘illumination’ that this principle is credited with by some catholici doctores (possibly William of Auvergne) has been accounted for in various ways. There is scholarly consensus that Thomas’ mature epistemological doctrine implies complete rejection of knowledge by participation. This article challenges this view by discussing De Ver., 10, 6, where Thomas maintains that the lumen of the active intellect as a faculty of our individual soul proceeds in us a substantiis separatis et praecipue a Deo. It is argued here that the same position is held by Thomas in one of his latest writings, the commentary on the Liber de Causis, where knowledge by participation resurfaces as an uncontroversial tenet. This undermines the idea that Thomas completely rejected any element of Neoplatonism in his account of knowledge.
D'Ancona, Cristina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/835777
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