Self-Intellection and its Epistemological Origins in Ancient Greek Thought: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Self-Intellection and its Epistemological Origins in Ancient Greek Thought

1st Edition

By Ian M. Crystal


230 pages

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Hardback: 9780754630579
pub: 2002-10-23
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Can the intellect or the intellectual faculty be its own object of thought, or can it not think or apprehend itself? This book explores the ancient treatments of the question of self-intellection - an important theme in ancient epistemology and of considerable interest to later philosophical thought. The manner in which the ancients dealt with the intellect apprehending itself, took them into both the metaphysical and epistemological domains with reflections on questions of thinking, identity and causality. Ian Crystal traces the origins from which the concept of self-intellection springs, by examining Plato's account of the epistemic subject and the emergence of self-intellection through the Aristotelian account, before the final part of the book explores the problem of how the intellect apprehends itself, and its resolution including Plotinus' reformulation and the dilemma raised by Sextus Empiricus. Crystal concludes that Plotinus recasts the metaphysical structures of Plato and Aristotle in such a way that he casts the concept of self-intellection in an entirely new light and offers a solution to the problem.


'Crystal's book is an important contribution to the ever-growing and increasingly sophisticated literature on cognition and philosophy of mind in antiquity. His clear and engaging style together with his marked philosophical acumen make this book a delight to read, at once thoughtful and thought provoking. It sets a high standard for future contributions to this topic.' Journal of the History of Philosophy

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The epistemological origins: Parmenides on intellection; Plato's epistemological response to Parmenides; Plato's epistemic subject; The emergence of self-intellection: Intellection and self-intellection in the De Anima: Aristotle's epistemological response to Plato; The emergence of the problem and its resolution: Sextus Empiricus and the Stoics on the dilemma of self-intellection; Plotinus' reformulation of self-intellection: his response to Sextus Empiricus; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy

Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy
The Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy series brings high quality research monograph publishing into focus for authors, the international library market, and student, academic and research readers. Headed by an international editorial advisory board of acclaimed scholars from across the philosophical spectrum, this monograph series presents cutting-edge research from established as well as exciting new authors in the field. Spanning the breadth of philosophy and related disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy takes contemporary philosophical research into new directions and debate.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General