ARISTOTELE SULL’ANALOGIA TRA LE FACOLTÀ COGNITIVE DEGLI ESSERI UMANI E DEGLI ALTRI ANIMALI
Keywords:Non-human Animals, Sense-perception, phantasia, Reason and Intellect, Analogy
In Historia animalium VIII 1.588a18 ff., Aristotle describes the cognitive powers of non-human animals as sketches of human cognitive powers. According to the wording he chooses here, the cognitive powers of non-human animals are “traces” or “footprints” (ἴχνη, 588a19) of human ones. In this paper I explore the conceptual framework that lays behind this image, in order to show that it is much more than a rhetorical figure, and that Aristotle’s wording encompasses a whole articulated theory, whose details are set out in De anima and the Parva naturalia. Moreover, I try to clarify some technicalities of the scientific model he devises in order to explain certain features of the sensory-perceptual part of the soul (with particular attention to the perception of the so-called “common” and “incidental” sensory items) that bear a real analogy to the functions of reason and intellect, and that can consequently be considered their precursors.