2013 | 2 | 113-135
Article title

Ogół czy konkret przedmiotem ludzkiego poznania? Rozważania na podstawie q. 2 a. 6. "Quaestiones disputatae De veritate – De scientia Dei"

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Is the Generality or the Concrete Thing the Object of Human Knowledge? Reflections based on Article 6 of the Question 2 of "Quaestiones disputatae De Veritate – De scientia Dei"
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Presented article is an attempt to answer the question: what, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is the object of human knowledge – the generality or the concrete thing? In the introduction the author remarks that the purpose of her reflections is not to make an ultimate subjective rational justification for the possibility or impossibility of knowing what is individual, but her reflections form a reconstruction of St. Thomas Aquinas’ position contained in article 6 in the second question of Quaestiones disputatae De veritate – De scientia Dei. It is mainly a question here of showing in Aquinas’ analyses a factor that would allow us to resolve whether the human intellect is capable of knowing what is individual. In the first part of the article, the author presents a fundamental difficulty that led St. Thomas to study the problem. The difficulty arose from the Aristotelian theory of the faculties and of abstraction. The theory allowed him to explain how the passage occurs from the sensory apprehension of the concrete thing to the intellect’s reading of the concrete thing’s general, necessary, and constant content, but the theory did not explain how one can recognize the concrete thing as such in which the general nature is realized. Next, the author concentrates on an analysis of the corpus of article 6 of the second question of Quaestiones disputatae De veritate – De scientia Dei. St. Thomas says there that the impressed intellectual-cognitive form (species intelligibilis impressa) that determines the intellect to know a thing does not contain individualizing material conditions, and thereby the intellect through itself (per se) knowls only generalities, but does not know concrete things. Thomas notes, however, that per accidens the human intellect can know what is individual. Therefore also in the third part of the article the author considers how, according to Aquinas, the concrete thing can be apprehended by the intellect. St. Thomas in this passage looks to the operation of conversio ad phantasmata in which the intellect indirectly knows the concrete content of a thing as the reason for a general concept. However, the author remarks that this is not the only possibility that man has for knowing what is individual. This is because Thomas in his analyses emphasizes that ultimately it is not the intellect but the entire man who is the subject of knowledge. For the operation of a turn to mental images to be possible, it is necessary that a faculty should exist that makes it possible to recognize earlier the concrete thing as that in which the general nature is realized. According to Aquinas, this faculty is the particular reason (ratio particularis, vis cogitativa).
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