Northwestern Events Calendar


Ancient Philosophy Workshop - Sean Kelsey (Notre Dame): "Intelligibility, Intelligence, and Insight"

When: Friday, November 16, 2018
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 3438, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Andrew Hull  

Group: NU Ancient Philosophy Workshop

Category: Academic


Title: ‘Intelligibility, Intelligence, and Insight’

Aristotle claims that ‘intelligence’ (νοῦς) is the form of its objects. On its face, the idea appears to be that intelligibility consists in some kind of intelligence. The same idea is suggested by a problem raised in DA III 4, which arises from the assumptions that intelligibility is one in form, that intelligence is intelligible, and that intelligence is ‘unmixed' with anything else; taken together, these assumptions appear to imply that being intelligible is being intelligent. Indeed, this implication is retained in the problem's solution, which divides the intelligible into things with and without matter, maintaining that while the former are not intelligible (nor therefore intelligent), the latter are both intelligible and intelligent. Here again it looks as though the ‘form’ of intelligible objects, what they all have in common, what ‘makes’ them intelligible, is some kind of intelligence.

This is the idea I want to try to make sense of. My proposals will be that intelligibility involves separating an object from everything with which it is mixed in concreto, that nothing is thus separate (‘unmixed’) except when ‘being understood’ (νοούμενον), that objects being understood are the same as the ‘insights’ (νοήσεις) which are the activities of understanding them, and that this activity, insight, is a kind of intelligence. Stepping back, the upshot will be that intelligibility is a creature of intelligence which exists in fulfillment only in insight.

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