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Episteme

Abstract

In recent years, Nussbaum/Putnam and M. F. Burnyeat have engaged in a back-and-forth debate over Aristotle’s theory of perception. This author traces the developments of this debate, explores the various questions that come into play, and ends up dissatisfied with both camps. There are two overriding questions: What does Aristotle mean to take as the nature of the sense-organ in perception? and How does esse naturale and esse intentionale link-up? The contemporary philosophers, perhaps sheltered by contemporary philosophy of mind, think they can prove their interpretation to be correct without answering this second question. The author reports the various replies, provides evidence from De Anima and De Moto, and considers how the Sorabji position and Aquinas’s Christian interpretation fit in. Ultimately, five conclusions result from the literature review, including one about the link between the physical and the mental. What is the conjunction between the object in nature and the perceived awareness?

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