Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tim O'Keefe

Second Advisor

Allison Piñeros-Glasscock


In De Anima III.5, Aristotle draws a distinction between a passive intellect and an agent intellect, distinction which has led post-Aristotelian scholars to propose two different interpretations on the nature of latter. The first interpretation claims that the agent intellect is Aristotle’s god, while the other one claims that the agent intellect is the immortal aspect of one single human intellect composed of the agent and passive intellects.

The project of the thesis is to show the limitations of these two views to then propose an interpretation of DA III.4-5 based on Aristotle’s hylomorphic scheme of explanation. The key aim of this manuscript is to shed light on the functions that the passive and agent intellects have as two aspects of a single human intellect and how they interact to bring about intellectual activity.

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