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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 90, Issue 2, Spring 2016

Elizabeth Anscombe

Elizabeth Anscombe
Pages 337-345

Thought and Reality

In this essay, Anscombe describes the Aristotelian account of how the intellect makes actually intelligible the forms of material particulars, and thereby is able to fashion concepts and think of those things. She identifies difficulties in it having to do with the differing “content” of concepts and of forms, and the generality of the former. She then contrasts that account with the Lockean theory of ideas as representations and with Hume’s development of the ideational view which holds that all we can ever conceive of are ideas and impressions. She next compares the Aristotelian isomorphist account with that of Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, showing that while both avoid the sceptical implication of the theory of ideas, a question arises regarding the relation of names to their bearers and how to understand ostensible names. Finally, Anscombe outlines Anselm’s treatment of “nothing” but notes its limits as a general treatment. (Ed. J.H.)

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