Alexander of Aphrodisias as an interpreter of Aristotle’s De anima


  • Paolo Accattino Facultad de Literatura y Filosofía, Università del Piemonte Orientale a Vercelli, Vercelli, Italia



Alexander, psychology, noethics


this essay, divided into three parts, is devoted to Alexander’s psychological doctrines: the first part illustrates, through some examples treated by the De anima, the conception Alexander had of his philosophical activity. Given that Aristotle has conveyed the most true doctrines, what it has to be done is simply to expose them again in the most clear and complete manner, making use of all that Aristotle says with regard to the psychic functions, even in works different from the main treatise. The second part of the essay is focused on the opening section (1-26 Bruns) of the Alexandrian treatise, where it is mainly proved that the soul, as any other form, is only the conjunction of capacities of the body, whose form is the soul. Moreover, Accattino argues, such state of mind capacities cannot be expressed independently of the body, and less with the dissapearance of the body. Therefore, as form of the body, the soul is completely mortal. The other celebrated thesis of Alexander (the identification of the active intellect with the Aristotelian god of Metaphysics Lambda) is dealt with in the third part of this essay. There the noethics of the De intellectu and the section devoted to the noethics in the De anima (80, 16-91, 6) are examined. In this section of his paper Accatino clarifies first the terms used in the Alexandrian noethics (intellect in potentiality or ‘material’ intellect, intellect understood as `habit’, intellect ‘coming from without’, the ‘agent’ intellect); he afterwards illustrates the way in which Alexander accounts for the intelective activity of human intellect, and he finally concentrates on the different role that he attributes to the agent intellect (or the intellect ‘coming from without’, identified by Alexander with the divine intellect) in the De intellectu and in the section of the De anima respectively, in order to show that Alexander’s most mature stance is the one pointed out in the De anima.

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How to Cite

Accattino, P. (2009). Alexander of Aphrodisias as an interpreter of Aristotle’s De anima. Estudios De Filosofía, (40), 53–77.



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