not think; it thinks always, though it manifests this its essential nature only when it has been separated; and it is of it alone that we can say ¿hat it is immortal and eternal. We however" (as the finite subjects in whom reason realises itself) " are liable to forgetfulness; for though the rational power which is in us cannot be affected by anything else, there is also in us a passive reason, which is capable , of decay and death, and except by means of this passive reason we do not think anything."
In this chapter we can see very clearly the difficulties under which Aristotle is placed in attempting to bring together the two aspects of man's intelligence, as a universal principle which yet must be conceived as developing itself in a finite individual subject. Reason, from the former point of view, is impassive and active and it can be determined by nothing but itself. Yet at first it exists in man only as a potentiality; and as a potentiality it would seem to be exposed to influences from without, while, as a universal potentiality, it would seem to be exposed to such influences from everything. How does Aristotle unite these two apparently contradictory characteristics of it? He does so, as I have already pointed out, simply showing that all that such influences can do is to become the occasion, not of imposing anything upon reason, or putting anything into it from without,
836 ARISTOTLE'S VIEW OF REASON
but only of calling out its power of determining itself. Its universal potentiality or openness to everything—which at first sight looks like emptiness, and seems to involve its being subject to every impression—is really a capacity of overpowering every such impression, and finding itself in everything. " It must therefore, since it apprehends all things, be pure and unmingled, that it may overcome all objects, that is, that it may know them."1
But this, again, raises the question, how objects are in the first instance given to reason ? Aristotle answers that they are given to it through the perceptions of sense, and the images which are derived therefrom. But we have to remember, in the first place, that even the perceptions of sense are not for Aristotle mere impressions; for, as we have seen, objects act upon sense only to call out its own potentiality. Thus the activity of sense already skips objects of their 'sensible matter,' and apprehends only their 'sensible forms.' These sensible forms, again, which are taken up into the imagination, though they are free from the sensible matter of their objects, have still what Aristotle calls an 'intelligible matter'2 attaching to them, in so far as they are images of objects in space and time, lDe An., 429a, 19.
a Aristotle's conception of 4 intelligible matter' has a close analogy Kant's doctrine as to the forms of sense (cf. Met., 1036a, 10).
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