Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Intentionality, Cognition, and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gyula Klima

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262748

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262748.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

Mental Representation in Animals and Humans

Mental Representation in Animals and Humans

Some Late Medieval Discussions

(p.273) Mental Representation in Animals and Humans
Intentionality, Cognition, and Mental Representation in Medieval Philosophy

Olaf Pluta

Fordham University Press

Olaf Pluta gives us a taste of the rich medieval literature on cognitive representation in animals, focusing on Buridan’s treatment of the cognitive abilities of animals, by raising the question whether in some sense even animals think. During the Middle Ages, it was generally assumed that the capacity to form universal concepts is characteristic of and unique to human thinking. While animal souls were considered to be material forms, that is to say, educed from the potency of matter, the human intellective soul was taken to be immaterial and immortal. Thomas Aquinas used the ability to form universal concepts as the key argument in his demonstration that the human intellect is immaterial and hence immortal. John Buridan, however, holds that animals can likewise refer to things universally. According to Buridan, a syllogism is a simple mental act within the soul, even though it is a complex semantic structure. Such an act may easily be possible for animals, even though they cannot express it by means of language.

Keywords:   animal intelligence, universal concepts, immateriality

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .