Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. John Thorp


Aristotle’s Naïve Somatism is a re-interpretation of Aristotle’s cognitive psychology in light of certain presuppositions he holds about the living animal body. The living animal body is presumed to be sensitive, and Aristotle grounds his account of cognition in a rudimentary proprioceptive awareness one has of her body. With that presupposed metaphysics under our belts, we are in a position to see that Aristotle in de Anima (cognition chapters at least) has a di erent explanatory aim in view than that which the literature generally imputes to him. He is not explicating what we would call the “mental”—the private, inner realm which some take to be of a di erent kind than the physical—as most take him to be. His explanandum is content acquisition; the explanans is showing how the body becomes like various aspects of objects. Although he famously describes the mind (nous) as unmixed with the body, he is guided by functional constrains—nous cannot be limited or qualified if it is to potentially think all things. Thus, his inquiry into cognition is philosophically limited from a contemporary perspective. Aristotle is not doing philosophy of mind, for he doesn’t seem to find the “mental” philosophically perplexing.

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