Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ Conference, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, October 13-15


Don Paco will be among the presenters:

Francisco J. Romero Carrasquillo (Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara), “The Reception of Averroes’s Abstractionist Theory of Intentionality in the Latin West.” Abstract: Recent scholarship has paid renewed attention to the medieval problem of intentionality and the internal senses, especially within the texts of Aquinas and Avicenna. Yet less attention has been paid to the influence of Averroes and St. Albert the Great in the process of transmission between Avicenna and Aquinas. This paper aims to fill that lacuna by focusing on Averroes’ abstractionist contribution to the debate and especially on St. Albert’s pivotal role in its reception in the Latin West. The essay is divided into three parts. Part One briefly reviews the polemic among the Arabs. On the one hand, Avicenna—as is well documented—posited principles of interior sense perception that result in a total of five interior senses, which are distinct on the basis of their objects: the common sense and the retentive imagination have ‘images’ as their objects, the estimative and memorative faculties have ‘intentions’ as their objects, and the compositive imagination has the role of joining images and intentions. On the other hand, Averroes rejected Avicenna’s principles, reduced the number of interior senses to four, and assigned to each the role of abstracting an ‘intention’ from an ‘image’. Part Two breaks new ground by examining St. Albert’s reception and assimilation of the two divergent Arabic theories, which result in a clever amalgam between Avicenna’s overall principles and framework and Averroes’ abstractionist account. Part Three closes the paper by taking a fresh look at Aquinas in light of the debate among his predecessors.

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