more from Thomas Aquinas

Single Idea 22168

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 3. Representation]

Full Idea

What the mind takes in is not some material element of the agent, but a likeness of the agent actualising some potential the patient already has. This, for example, is the way our seeing takes in the colour of a coloured body.


Agents are viewed, patients do the viewing

Gist of Idea

Minds take in a likeness of things, which activates an awaiting potential


Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], 8.2.1)

Book Reference

McDermott,Timothy: 'Aquinas: how to read' [Granta 2007], p.8

A Reaction

This is exactly right. Descartes agreed. It works for colour, but not (obviously) for cheese graters.

Related Idea

Idea 3631 A blind man may still contain the idea of colour [Descartes]