A Final Observation

This brings closure to the analysis—an explicatio textus—of the somewhat muddled region of inner sense—phantasia—found in the many philosophy of mind texts authored by Thomas Aquinas. This is a bit of philosophy of mind rooted in Aristotle’s De Anima, but an account developed much further. If this account is sufficiently perspicuous, it will possibly assist contemporary philosophers of mind address what Haldane suggested as ‘one of the tasks for the next century’. The texts from the Summa Theologiae, the Summa Contra Gentiles, the Commentary on the Soul, and the Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate, among others used in this extended study, offer justification for the explanatory analysis put forward and developed in this monograph. Hence, the incidental object of sense is an intentio non sensata known through the intentional activity of the vis cogitativa. Given this analysis, the vis cogitativa, in an explanatory mode, is not an embarrassment to Aquinas. On the contrary, this faculty provides the possibility for the awareness of an individual of a natural kind on the level of perception. This in turn renders the entire abstraction process, which is part of the intellect, more coherent. This analysis has argued that, for Aquinas, the vis cogitativa is a necessary component between sense perception of individual sensible qualities and conceptual thought of sortal properties by means of abstraction; this is, of course, the position that Frede called an embarrassment. To reiterate an earlier observation, without the vis cogitativa, Aquinas’s philosophy of mind would be both much muddled and indeed an embarrassment.

This concludes the inquiry into the role of perception theory articulated in the philosophy of mind of Thomas Aquinas. Themes common to traditional discussions in intentionality theories embellish and assist our understanding of Thomas on mental acts in both the external and the internal sensoria, together with the functioning of the intellectus agens and the intellectus possibilis.

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