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Volume 18/19, 2020/2021

Ousia: Essence ou Substance?

Jean‑Baptiste Brenet
Pages 431-451

L’intellect agent, la lumière, l’hexis. Averroès lecteur d’Aristote et d’Alexandre d’Aphrodise

This article examines Averroes’ interpretation, found in his Long Commentary on the De Anima, of a famous passage in Aristotle’s De An. III 5 (430a14‑15) which presents the intellect “producing all things, as a kind of positive state (hexis), like light”. Averroes, clearly heir to Alexander of Aphrodisias for whom hexis refers not to the intellect “agent” itself but to its product, defends nevertheless, via the comparison with light, the conception of the agent intellect (a substance purely in act by itself ) as an hexis, which leads us to the inevitable consequence that the agent intellect is the prime object of the material intellect, acting as a condition for all subsequent thoughts.