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Products for grant FA-251123-17

Aristotle's Soul: Essays on the Classical Scientific Treatise, De Anima
Sean Kelsey, University of Notre Dame

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Mind and World in Aristotle's De Anima (Book)
Title: Mind and World in Aristotle's De Anima
Author: Sean Kelsey
Abstract: Why is the human mind able to perceive and understand the truth about reality; that is, why does it seem to be the mind’s specific function to know the world? Sean Kelsey argues that both the question itself and the way Aristotle answers it are key to understanding his work De Anima, a systematic philosophical account of the soul and its powers. In this original reading of a familiar but highly compressed text, Kelsey shows how this question underpins Aristotle’s inquiry into the nature of soul, sensibility, and intelligence. He argues that, for Aristotle, the reason why it is in human nature to know beings is that “the soul in a way is all beings.” This new perspective on the De Anima throws fresh and interesting light on familiar Aristotelian doctrines: for example, that sensibility is a kind of ratio (logos), or that the intellect is simple, separate, and unmixed.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description:
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781108966375
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Color, transparency, and light in Aristotle (Article)
Title: Color, transparency, and light in Aristotle
Author: Sean Kelsey
Abstract: Aristotle says that it is in the nature of color to impart movement to transparent media. Typically this is interpreted as implying that these media must be transparent (in fulfillment) before color moves them. I argue that this is a mistake.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: doi
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Phronesis
Publisher: Brill

An aporia about aisthêsis (Book Section)
Title: An aporia about aisthêsis
Author: Sean Kelsey
Editor: Roberto Radice
Abstract: My topic in this paper is De anima II 5. Much of the extensive literature on De anima II 5, and on Aristotle’s theory perception quite generally, is at least tacitly animated by an interest in the difficulties we think stand in the way of making progress in the theory of perception: roughly put, difficulties of explaining intentionality and consciousness without falling into dualism. My main contention will be that Aristotle’s own preoccupations, which he inherits from his predecessors, are rather different. The problem he thinks needs getting around does not have to do with how animals manage to represent the world at all (whether accurately or not), nor with how they manage to be aware of how they represent it as being, but rather with how they manage to discriminate correctly, and thereby successfully navigate, salient features of their environments. Put another way, Aristotle’s preoccupations are not with the problems of ‘intentionality’ or of ‘consciousness,’ but with the problem of ‘objectivity.’
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: World Cat
Publisher: Edizioni Unicopli
ISBN: 9788840019697

What is intelligence? (Aristotle, De anima III, 4-8) (Article)
Title: What is intelligence? (Aristotle, De anima III, 4-8)
Author: Sean Kelsey
Abstract: This paper asks what it is about ‘intelligence’ (νοῦς) that, in Aristotle’s view, makes ‘insight’ (νοεῖν) its proprietary work. It argues that the answer lies in the peculiar clarity and distinctness of its activity, ‘insight’ (νόησις). This clarity and distinctness, it argues, make intelligence the very ‘form’ or ‘measure’ of its objects—what they all ‘have in common,’ what ‘makes’ them intelligible, what their intelligibility consists in.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: na
Primary URL Description: na
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Philosophia (Athens)
Publisher: Academy of Athens

Intelligibility, Insight, and Intelligence (Book Section)
Title: Intelligibility, Insight, and Intelligence
Author: Sean Kelsey
Editor: Caleb Cohoe
Abstract: Aristotle maintains that defining nous requires first defining its activity, which requires first having considered its objects, intelligible beings. This paper is about the nature of these objects: what about them makes them intelligible? My principal proposals will be that what makes them intelligible is that they are ‘separate’ and ‘unmixed,’ and that because, insofar as they are intelligible, they are, in their essence, ‘activity.’ I am not unaware that this makes it sound as though Aristotle takes intelligibility to consist in some kind of nous. But he himself virtually says as much, when he claims that nous is the ‘form’ of its objects (lit. εἶδος εἰδῶν); besides it is a result he is committed to by the doctrines that nous is intelligible and that there is something that intelligible objects ‘all are in common’; for the alternative, as he himself says, is to suppose that nous ‘will have something mixed-in, which makes it intelligible just like the rest.’ The challenge, then, is not to steer clear of this result, but to make sense of it. My proposal will be that the key lies in realizing that and why Aristotle thinks intelligibility is a creature of nous.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Book Title: Aristotle's On the Soul. A Critical Guide
ISBN: 9781108641517