Aquinas’s Theory of Perception: An Analytic Reconstruction

New York, New York: Oxford University Press UK (2016)
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Abstract

Anthony J. Lisska presents a new analysis of Thomas Aquinas's theory of perception. While much work has been undertaken on Aquinas's texts, little has been devoted principally to his theory of perception and less still on a discussion of inner sense. The thesis of intentionality serves as the philosophical backdrop of this analysis while incorporating insights from Brentano and from recent scholarship. The principal thrust is on the importance of inner sense, a much-overlooked area of Aquinas's philosophy of mind, with special reference to the vis cogitativa. Approaching the texts of Aquinas from contemporary analytic philosophy, Lisska suggests a modest 'innate' or 'structured' interpretation for the role of this inner sense faculty. He argues that were it not for the vis cogitativa, Aquinas would be unable to account for an awareness of the principal ontological category in his metaphysics.

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Chapters

Introduction

This introductory chapter argues for the need of an analysis of the process of perception—with special attention paid to the nature, scope, and workings of three of the internal senses or ‘inner sense’—founded on the ‘logic’ of these concepts central to Aquinas’s account of sensation and p... see more

Aquinas on Intentionality

This chapter considers how intentionality theory is grounded in the writings of Aquinas, and how this theory has influenced nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophy. It considers the ‘Principles of Intentionality’ as fundamental building blocks for Aquinas’s philosophy of mind. These p... see more

Epistemological Dispositions

This chapter presents an account of the important Aristotelian distinction concerning ‘act and potency’, which suggests how this paradigm is important in moving beyond the limits of representationalism. Aquinas begins his discussion of act and potency by considering two propositions: ‘To s... see more

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References found in this work

Reason and Belief in God.Alvin Plantinga - 1983 - In Alvin Plantinga & Nicholas Wolterstorff (eds.), Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 16-93.
Theory of Knowledge.Scott MacDonald - 1993 - In Norman Kretzman & Eleonore Stump (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Aquinas. Cambridge University Press. pp. 160.

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