This paper concerns the Aristotelian inquiry on φαντασία’ in De Animaiii 3. I argue for a systematic interpretation of the chapter, according to which iii 3 neatly instantiates what David Charles has called the Three Stage View on scientific inquiry. The first stage establishes the meaning of the term φαντασία so it provides a nominal definition of the object, the second stage dialectically confirms the existence of φαντασία as something different from other already known cognitive powers (perception, thought), the third stage posits a hypothetical essence (real definition), then it tests its power of enabling us to derive from such an essence those manifest and apparent features of φαντασία, that had been previously individuated. On the basis of such reading, some general suggestions on the status and role of φαντασία are also proposed, on the basis of which we can take the definition of iii 3 to be consistent with any other explanatory uses of φαντασία in the corpus.
SchofieldM., ‘Aristotle on the Imagination’, in LloydG., OwenG.E.L., Aristotle on Mind and the Senses. Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium Aristotelicum, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1978, 99–141.