• Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself: Thomas Reid's Epistemology in the Light of Artistotle's "De Anima"

      Sweetman, Robert; DeMoor, Michael; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2003-09)
      This thesis argues that, in spite of his explicit denunciation of Aristotle's theory of perception and thought, Thomas Reid's own theory of perception marks a return to the central themes of Aristotle's theory. It is argued, first, that Aristotle's 'De Anima' presents an account of sensation and thought in which the functions of the object of perception play the determining role with respect to the structure, order and intelligibility of the act of perception. Thomas Aquinas' and Descartes' transformation of Aristotle's account are then discussed, showing how the "apparatus" of Aristotle's theory remains while the ground of order and intelligibility is shifted from the functions of the object of perception to those of the perceiver as subject. The theories of the British empiricists are then shown to be continuous with this transformation of Aristotle's thought. Finally, it is argued that Reid returns to an objectivism by way of his rejection of the subjectivistic transformation wrought by Descartes et al. It is argued that this rejection is not---as Reid himself believes---a rejection of the crucial aspects of Aristotle's theory, but instead constitutes a return to its primary themes and theses.