Species intelligibilis: From Perception to Knowledge

2. Renaissance Controversies, Later Scholasticism, and the Elimination of the Intelligible Species in Modern Philosophy


Author: Leen Spruit
Medieval discussions of mental representation were constrained in essential ways by Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of intelligible species. Aquinas' view of a formal mediation of sensible reality in intellectual knowledge was not universally accepted. In particular, after his death, a long series of controversies developed about the necessity of intelligible species. (These were analyzed in the first volume of this study.) The first part of this book deals with Renaissance controversies, discussing Peripatetics, Neoplatonics, and a group of relatively independent authors. In the second part, developments of late Scholasticism, and the elimination of the intelligible species in modern non-Aristotelian philosophy are scrutinized. Particular attention is paid to the possible roots of the seventeenth-century theories of ideas in traditional philosophy.

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Leen Spruit received his Ph.D. in philosophy (1987) from the University of Amsterdam. He has been research fellow at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht. His main interests are in the history of Medieval and early modern epistemology. He currently lives in Rome.
"L'ouvrage offre ainsi un aperçu complet de la question. C.T., qui a bénéficié de maints travaux auxquels il fait référence, rend compte des enjeux propres à chacun des protagonistes."
É.H. Wéber, Revue des Sciences Philos. & Theol., 1996.
Students and scholars in intellectual history, the history of Renaissance and early modern philosophy, as well as those interested in the historical roots of modern cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind.