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Self-KnowledgeA History$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190226411

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.001.0001

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Self-Knowledge in Scholasticism

Self-Knowledge in Scholasticism

(p.114) Chapter six Self-Knowledge in Scholasticism

Dominik Perler

Oxford University Press

All medieval philosophers in the Aristotelian tradition agreed that the human intellect is not only able to know other things, but also itself. But how should that be possible? Which cognitive mechanisms are required for self-knowledge? This chapter examines three models that attempted to answer that fundamental question: (1) Thomas Aquinas referred to higher-order acts that make first-order acts and eventually also the intellect itself cognitively present, (2) Matthew of Aquasparta appealed to introspection, (3) Dietrich of Freiberg claimed that no special cognitive process is necessary because the intellect is by nature always fully present to itself. An analysis of these three models shows that scholastic philosophers intended to provide an epistemological foundation for the explanation of Socratic self-knowledge.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, Matthew of Aquasparta, Dietrich of Freiberg, Aristotelianism, higher-order theory, intellect, reflection, introspection

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