Nous and Logos in Aristotle

Nous and Logos in Aristotle.” Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 54, 3 (2007): 348-367; co-authored with Richard A. Lee, Jr.

This essay challenges the received orthodoxy that in Aristotle, nous, the capacity for intuitive insight and logos, the capacity of combination that belongs to human discursive thinking, are mutually exclusive, independently operating capacities of the human mind. It argues rather that Aristotle articulates an understanding of nous that is able to be logical and of logos that is able to be noetic.

The essay traces the complex relationship between nous and logos that runs through the various paths of Aristotle’s thinking from the Posterior Analytics to the Nichomachean Ethics and into the De Anima and the Metaphysics, in order to discern the extent to which nous and logos in Aristotle belong together. The relation between nous and logos is shown to be determined by concrete logo-noetic encounters with individuals that at once give rise to the universals of theoretical contemplation and allow humans to effectively respond to the world of practical affairs. The result is an integrated understanding of nous in its relation to logos that enjoins a heightened sensitivity to and responsibility toward the concrete individuals encountered in everyday experience.

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Nous and Logos in Aristotle

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