Body And Knowledge In Aristotle’s De Anima. Selected Readings And Arguments

Fabrizio Bigotti (University of Exeter) IRH-ICUB Visiting Professor

Only a few works in the history of Western philosophical tradition have been read and commented upon as much as Aristotle’s De anima. The book, however, deserves attention on its own right, as a landmark in Aristotle’s thought. Besides its emphasis on the relation between the body and the soul, the De anima offers a series of precious insights into Aristotle’s philosophy and especially on the relation between universal knowledge and natural philosophy. From this standpoint, the work places itself at the conjunction of Aristotle’s metaphysical and natural investigations. This module aims at presenting Aristotle’s De anima by means of ten thematic encounters which will explore issues related to perception, emotion, understanding and intuition with help also from other works, and especially Metaphysica I and XII. The text will be read in English, key references from Greek will be translated and explained. Selected passages will be pre-circulated. A basic understanding of philosophy is desirable, but constancy in attending the course is essential.

For registration and other details please contact Fabrizio Bigotti at f.bigotti(at)

Course outline

10 seminars 2 hours each, unless signalled otherwise (**), 4.30-6.30 pm

Starting date: 23th May – 26th July 2018

*Extra-meetings on Fridays will be announced shortly.

List of the encounters:

23 May – (2.30-4.30 pm)** Introduction– Diaporetical problems (Bk I)

30 May – Limits of the Natural Enquiry of the Soul (Bk I)

6 June – Definition of the Soul and Related Problems (Bk II)

13 June – (2.30-4.30 pm)** Analysis of Sense Perception (Bk II)

20 June – Emotion (Bk II –III)

27 June – The intellect, General Outlines

*9 July – The Dynamic/Natural Intellect

11 July – The “Nous Poietikόs”

18 July – Implications and Consequences of Aristotle’s Notion of Intellect

25 July – Motion and Desire – Final Remarks

* The change is required as Prof. Bigotti will be away throughout the first week of July to lecture at the International Summer School of Rabat (Morocco)


Greek: Wilhelm BIEHL (Ed.), Aristotelis De Anima Libri Tres (Teubner: 1896)

English: SHIELDS Christopher (Ed.), Aristotle. De anima (Oxford University Press: 2016) or alternatively any available translation

Secondary Literature

DE BOER Sander W., The Science of the Soul. The Commentary Tradition on Aristotle’s De anima, c. 1260-1360 (Leuven University Press: 2013)
NUSSBAUM Martha C., OKSENBERG RORTY A., Essays on Aristotle’s De anima (Oxford University Press: 1995)

POLANSKY Ronald (Ed.), Aristotle’s De Anima. A Critical Commentary (Cambridge University Press: 2007)