Intuitive Cognition in the Latin Medieval Tradition

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This paper explores some key features of Medieval accounts of intuition, focusing on Thomas Aquinas (1224/5–1274), on the one hand, and on Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308), Peter Auriol (c. 1280–1322), and William Ockham (c. 1287-1347), on the other hand. The first section is devoted to the type of intuitive cognition which is accepted by all these authors, namely, the immediate and direct grasp of some present material object by the senses. It is from this basic sensory intuition–they agree–that human cognition starts. The second section turns to intuitive intellectual cognition and to the much greater disagreements which divide these philosophers. Notwithstanding these important differences, the paper’s conclusion draws attention to the similarities in the conception of intuition which cut across the otherwise significantly different accounts of the authors discussed. I end with an invitation to recover their older way of thinking of intuition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-692
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2023


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