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• To give you experience closely analyzing the reasoning of an important philosopher on the subject of the mind
• To give you experience communicating your understanding of a philosophical writing
Option 1: Aristotle’s De Anima (“On the Soul”)
Explore how Aristotle develops an understanding of phantasia (“imagination”) in De Anima, Book III, Part 3: 427b28 – 429a9 and noein (“thinking”) in De Anima, Book III, Part 4: 429a10 – 430a9.
A reading guide on this text can be found here:
Polansky, Ronald, M. Aristotle’s De Anima: A Critical Commentary. Cambridge University Press (2007).
The text of Aristotle’s De Anima to read can be found here:
Aristotle, De Anima, Book III, Part 3 – 4
Answer the following questions on a separate document (Microsoft Word .docx), exploring how Aristotle develops an understanding of phantasia (“imagination”) in part 3 and noein (“thinking”) in part 4 of De Anima.

  1. Why does Aristotle say that phantasia is distinct from perception? (428a6ff.)
  2. Aristotle claims that “sensations are always true, imaginations are for the most part false” (a11-12) What does he mean and why is it important to state?
  3. How does Aristotle argue that imagination is distinct from belief? (428a19-b5). Can you identify the premises and conclusion?
  4. What positive relation does imagination have to perception? How is imagination related to motion? (428b10-17)
  5. How is “thinking” (noein) like perceiving? (429a13-17)
  6. In what sense is intellect purely potential? (a20)
  7. How does intellect differ from perception in its being unaffected? (429a30-b5)
  8. Why does Aristotle say intellect is separable? (b5)
  9. What kind of knowledge is Aristotle talking about at 429b6-9?
  10. How does the analogy of the writing tablet help explain the nature of intellect and its relation to its objects? (430a1-2)

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