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gradually give then reality: it must first of all create or make these ideas, it must construct an intelligible world, an object of thought in which and with which it may operate: it must determine and constitute the very subject-matter of its action. And if we follow the few words in which Aristotle has unfolded his theory of a creative Reason we shall perhaps find that something like this was the nature of the intellectual act which Aristotle intended to represent.
The mind of man, says Aristotle, must contain the same differences as metaphysical analysis finds inherent in existence as a whole. Just as any class of things of which being can be predicated may be analyzed into a matter which is potentially all the class, and a causal or formative element which acts on this matter as art does on the materials given to it: so in mind we must distinguish between two forms or aspects of the reason standing in this relation to one another'. On the one hand reason becomes all things: on the other hand it makes all things —makes them in the same sense in which light creates the objects of vision. In saying that reason 'becomes' all things Aristotle must mean that reason is able to apply itself to the whole domain of experience: that it can bring everything under the forms of rational knowledge. But reason does not only 'become' all things: it also makes all things. That is to say, it creates an intelligible world in the only sense in which experience can be acquired. And the illustration of the sunlight helps to make Aristotle's meaning still more clear. For just the metaphor would seem to mean-just as the sun communicates to things that light without which colour would be invisible and sight would have no object: so in the same manner this creative reason communicates to things those
1 111. 5, ἐπεὶ δ ̓ ὥσπερ ἐν ἁπάσῃ τῇ φύσει ἐστί τι τὸ μὲν ὕλη ἑκάστῳ γένει (τοῦτο δὲ ὁ πάντα δυνάμει ἐκεῖνα) ἕτερον δὲ τὸ αἴτιον καὶ ποιητικόν, τῷ ποιεῖν πάντα, οἷον ἡ τέχνη πρὸς τὴν ὕλην πέπονθεν, ἀνάγκη καὶ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ὑπάρχειν ταύτας τὰς διαφοράς.
* 430*4, καὶ ἔστιν ὁ μὲν τοιοῦτος νοῦς τῷ πάντα γίνεσθαι, ὁ δὲ τῷ πάντα ποιεῖν, ὡς ἔξις τις, οἷον τὸ φῶς· τρόπον γάρ τινα καὶ τὸ φῶς ποιεῖ τὰ δυνάμει ὄντα χρώματα ἐνεργείᾳ χρώματα.
ideas, categories, or whatever we may call them, by which they become objects on which thought as a receptive passive faculty may operate. Now, Aristotle goes on, such reasonreason which by giving thought to things bestows upon them real existence-is clearly independent of the body': because, we may venture to add, this body itself is only an object of thought, an intelligible thing, in virtue of this very act of creative reason, which accordingly cannot itself depend upon the body. Such thought again is like actual knowledge-it is identical with its object-i.e. the work of thought in dealing with these ideas which thus constitute existence is scarcely different from existence itself the thinking of the world is in fact the creation of the world and the world as thought. Still the knowledge of these fundamental categories of existence is not something present to everyday consciousness: it is only by a later effort of analysis that they are grasped at all. Long before the individual has come to know these ultimate ideas he has unconsciously to himself applied them in building up his own experience: it may be that he never consciously recognises the existence of such ideas at all. But this thinking of the world is never really in abeyance: and if we leave the Q individual and consider the subject in the absolute we shall see that this potential thought is not really prior even in time to creative reason3. This reason in fact is always implicitly present in the world: it does not think at one time, and rest from thinking at another; that is, if we may again supplement Aristotle, our categories of thought are ever active in the world, because, however unconscious we may be of them, it requires only an effort of introspection to discover them as necessary ingredients of our experience. But if so, this thought
1 καὶ οὗτος ὁ νοῦς χωριστὸς καὶ ἀμιγὴς καὶ ἀπαθής, τῇ οὐσίᾳ ὢν ἐνεργείᾳ· ἀεὶ γὰρ τιμιώτερον τὸ ποιοῦν τοῦ πάσχοντος καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς ὕλης.
2 τὸ δ ̓ αὐτό ἐστιν ἡ κατ' ἐνέργειαν ἐπιστήμη τῷ πράγματι, cp. c. 4, 4303, ἐπὶ τῶν ἄνευ ὕλης τὸ αὐτό ἐστι τὸ νοοῦν καὶ τὸ νοούμενον.
3 ἡ δὲ κατὰ δύναμιν χρόνῳ προτέρα ἐν τῷ ἑνί, ὅλως δὲ οὐδὲ χρόνῳ.
4 ἀλλ ̓ οὐχ ὁτὲ μὲν νοεῖ ὁτὲ δ ̓ οὐ νοεῖ.
is really eternal and immortal': an intelligible universe, that is, has always involved these very forms which to this day are found by mental analysis to be the factors which explain our knowledge of the universe. Yet the employment of them does not convey this sense of everlastingness along with it-Plato's 'reminiscence' of a previous state of being in which the mind has been face to face with truth is a fiction of his own-because our reason dealing with fundamental ideas of this character is unaffected by its objects and employs them for the greater part of its existence in unconsciousness. It is just here howeverin this persistency of thought constituting throughout time the universe-that the sense of life continuous, being unimpaired' must be looked for. The receptive intellect which merely thinks a world that has been rendered intelligible cannot lay claim to any such preeminence. Its work is restricted to the lifetime of the man who uses it: it depends upon the different communications of sense and the various reports of memory which enable it to apprehend the outward world, and it may thus be said to perish with the dissolution of the body. Besides it has none of the independent footing which creative reason may be said to have: it is throughout dependent on it for its action: because indeed without the faculty which constitutes an intellectual world the thinking and cognition of the world would be a positive impossibility.
The stumblingblock which has prevented students from understanding Aristotle's position lies perhaps chiefly in separating the fourth and fifth chapters of the third book from each other as if Aristotle were speaking of one reason in the one chapter, of another reason in the other. The real point to be remembered is that the problem which Aristotle is seeking to solve in the latter half of the fourth chapter is, How does reason think the world? How does the immaterial-thought-come to receive the material-things? The answer is that this is possible only
1 χωρισθεὶς δ ̓ ἐστὶ μόνον τοῦθ ̓ ὅπερ ἐστί, καὶ τοῦτο μόνον ἀθάνατον καὶ αἴδιον.
· οὐ μνημονεύομεν δὲ, ὅτι τοῦτο μὲν ἀπαθές, ὁ δὲ παθητικὸς νοῦς φθαρτός, καὶ ἄνευ τούτου (i.e. τοῦ ποιητικοῦ) οὐθὲν νοεῖ (i.e. ὁ παθητικός).
in virtue of a community between thought and things. And this KOLVOV is more definitely the creative reason which being at once in our minds and immanent in the world bridges the gulf between external objects and the receptive intellect.
This explanation of Aristotle's theory of a creative reason may be thought an instance of that tendency to modernize an ancient problem which no one would generally deprecate more than the present writer. But it may be said at least that in the fragmentary state in which Aristotle has left his theory, no course is open to a student unless he be prepared to supplement to some degree the scattered thoughts which the original Greek presents. And the interpretation which has just been given may be allowed to comprehend and also in a way to shew the truth contained in many of the different explanations which Aristotelian commentators have given of this creative reason.
The divergencies of view respecting Aristotle's meaning on this subject go back to an early period in the history of Aristotelianism. The idealist and transcendental interpretation meets us already in Eudemus: the more natural and empirical in Theophrastus. But it is with Alexander of Aphrodisias that we first find a decidedly theistic and supernatural rendering of the creative reason. Alexander regarded it, it would appear, as a purely spiritual agency acting as the fundamental basis of phenomena and transmitting its influence to man's nature from outside'. This supernatural interpretation on the part of Alexander exercised no inconsiderable influence on the Arabian philosophers in mediaeval Europe. To Avicenna it is the passive intellect alone which has a place in the human soul; and the creative intellect becomes transmuted into a series of pure spirits, a cycle of intelligences, of which the higher shed their light upon the lower until they reach the intellectus agens as the spiritual agency which lies nearest to man. Emanation thus comes in to explain the action of this active or creative intellect: the intelligible forms stream into our souls, just as on the other hand the substantial 1 For a fuller account of the ancient interpretations, with references, see the notes to iii. 5.
forms descend upon corporeal matter: and each act of knowledge means a fresh descent of the intelligible forms from the creative reason upon our natural understanding. A more sober interpretation is that given by Averroes. To him the passive intellect is merely the sensitive capacity by which we can distinguish and compare our separate sensations. But true intellectual cognition only arises when the passive and the active intellect are brought into combination: this active intellect being the faculty which gives actual intelligibility to the merely potentially intelligible phantasms or pictures of imagination. But this cognitive process in which the intellectus agens gives meaning to the intellectus passivus is still in every mind essentially the same phenomenon: "all who were are and shall be acquire their intellectual knowledge by one and the same cognitive act." A much less metaphysical account is given by Thomas Aquinas: the creative intellect becomes little more in his hands than a faculty for abstracting general forms from concrete individuals. Both the passive and the active intellect are according to Thomas parts or aspects of the human soul: but while on the level of the passive intellect the mind is a mere possibility for receiving forms, the active intellect enlightens and illumines the phantasms, which are in themselves individual, and abstracts the intelligible species from them'.
Modern exponents of Aristotelianism have been as little harmonious in explaining Aristotle's doctrine. Trendelenburg, for instance, regards the passive reason as a single expression to denote all the lower cognitive powers of man2: and though unable to view the active intellect as one with the divine mind, he yet sees in it, as the source of first principles, something of a divine nature. Zeller takes a similar view of the voûя πаOnTikós: the passive reason is "the whole of the presentative
1 Condensed from the fuller account given by Brentano of the different interpretations of Aristotle's conception.
Omnes illas quae praecedunt facultates in unum quasi nodum collectas quatenus ad res cogitandas postulantur voûv antikov dictas esse judicamus. Trend. Comment. p. 405.