34. Aristotle on the unification of thought and its object

Aristotle, in his Metaphysics (Book Lambda, 1075a), notes that “thinking and to be an object of thought are not the same.” This makes sense: if I am thinking about a tree the tree is not my thought of the tree. Indeed, the difference between our thoughts and their objects is what makes us ask: how can we ever really know if our thoughts accurately represent their objects? But Aristotle goes on to ask: “Or is it not that in some cases knowledge and its object are the same?” He then goes on to answer: “Thought and the object of thought are not different in the case of things that have not matter, the divine thought and its object will be the same, i.e. the thinking will be one with the object of its thought.” So in the immaterial mind of God there is no difference between immaterial divine thoughts and their immaterial intentional objects.

Is there a way to see how this unity of thought and object might apply to us as well? Well, if (1) we have immaterial souls and (2) the things we come to know are immaterial as well – for example, immaterial propositions – then there may be a way to see how our grasping of the truth can exhibit the same unity of thought and its object enjoyed by God.

For my post that argues we are immaterial souls, go here.

For my post that propositions are immaterial thoughts in God’s mind to which we have access, go here.

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