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Bonaventure on the Agent Intellect

digital Bonaventure on the Agent Intellect
issue RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA - 2017 - 4. Il pensiero filosofico e teologico in Bonaventura da Bagnoregio
title Bonaventure on the Agent Intellect
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 03-2018
issn 00356247 (print) | 18277926 (digital)
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The issue of the agent intellect is one of the significant exegetical problems of Aristotle’s work. Medieval solutions to this issue were associated with Averroist monopsychism and its critique elaborated by Thomas Aquinas. This paper discusses the concept of the agent intellect in the works of Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, which is often compared to Thomas’s concept on the basis that it similarly emphasises the immanence of the agent intellect as part of the human soul. Bonaventure, however, by building on the work of his Franciscan predecessors Alexander of Hales and John of la Rochelle, did not formulate an unambiguous concept of the agent intellect. The combination of Aristotelian noetics and Augustinian illumination creates room for the dual concept of the agent intellect, in which the agent intellect is not merely the difference of the human soul with the potential intellect, but it can also be identified with God, who illuminates human reason. However, Bonaventure’s doctrine of the agent intellect is not sufficiently systematic for us to be able to present a definitive interpretation, which also points to the fact that Bonaventure did not consider this issue to be of significant importance.


Medieval Epistemology, Agent Intellect, Aristotelianism, St. Bonaventure, Early Franciscan School