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Albert the Great between Avempace and Averroes on the Knowledge of Separate Forms

2012 , López-Farjeat, Luis Xavier

In Albert’s De anima III, 3, chapters 6–11 there is a discussion on whether the human intellect is able to apprehend only forms abstracted from matter or whether it is possible for it to know something separated from magnitude. If the human intellect is able to understand separate forms, this would mean that some forms are not apprehended with phantasms and magnitude but by the conjunction of the possible intellect and the separate intellect. This matter is quite problematic since it is not clear enough whether separate forms are known through the perfect conjunction of the possible intellect and the agent intellect or by means of the agent intellect which acts both as efficient and formal cause of these forms. Here, I focus on chapter 8 where Albert criticizes Avempace’s doctrine of the intellect, and chapter 11 where he states a resolution to the problem, which is very close to that of Averroes. This exploration illustrates the complexity of the relationship between the philosophies of Albert and Averroes.