published on January 17, 2018
James S. Kintz
The Unity of the Knower and the Known
The Phenomenology of Aristotle and the Metaphysics of Husserl
Aristotle famously asserted that the mind is identical with its object in an act of cognition. This “identity doctrine” has caused much confusion and controversy, with many seeking to avoid a literal interpretation in favor of one that suggests that “identity” refers to a formal isomorphism between the mind and its object. However, in this paper I suggest that Aristotle’s identity doctrine is not an epistemological claim about an isomorphism between a representation of an object and the object itself, but is a phenomenological claim about the character of human cognition and intelligible being. Drawing on texts from Edmund Husserl and Aristotle, I offer a phenomenological interpretation of Aristotle’s identity doctrine. I ultimately argue that, for Aristotle, mind and being are essentially unified, for intelligible being is partially constitutive of the mind.