The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Perceiving white and sweet (again): Aristotle, De Anima 3.7, 431a20-b1

Catherine Osbornea1

a1 University of Wales, Swansea,

In chapter 7 of the third book of De anima Aristotle is concerned with the activity of the intellect (nous), which, here as elsewhere in the work, he explores by developing parallels with his account of sense-perception. In this chapter his principal interest appears to be the notion of judgement, and in particular intellectual judgements about the value of some item on a scale of good and bad. In this paper I shall argue, firstly that there is in fact a coherent structure and focus to this chapter, which has therefore unjustly been criticized as disorganized or corrupt; and secondly that, in the light of such a coherent understanding of the chapter as a whole, we can resolve the difficulties in interpreting the central passage concerned with cross-modal perceptual judgements, and thereby also throw some further light on the related passages in the second chapter of De anima 3, which had been directly concerned with that topic.