Animal Intelligence and Vis Aestimativa in Avicenna and Thomas Aquinas


Joan D.A. Juanola


Espíritu:  ISSN 0014-0716, Year 64, Issue 150 (july-december), 2015, pages 341-362




Avicenna and Thomas Aquinas understand animal intelligence in reference to the activity of vis aestimativa, through which they explain animal behaviour as being consequent to an apprehensive appraisal of its environment. This apraisal must be distinguished from the representative knowledge of the phantasma, because it is not of per se sensed qualities, but per accidens, that Avicenna calls intentiones. Explaining animal behaviour from the vis aestimativa allows to understand it without attributing it to intelligence, which has been classically considered to be exclusive of rational beings’ conceptual knowledge of reality.

Key words:

Animal intelligence, vis aestimativa, intentiones, Avicena, Tomás de Aquino



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