Perception, Intentionality and Thought: Animal Behaviour in Aristotle and Avicenna
Keywords:Perception, Intentionality, De anima, Medieval islamic epistemology, Aristotle, Avicenna
Perception, imagination, intentionality, memory, and emotions are capacities that we have in common with non-human animals. Animals’ physical constitution and cognitive apparatus are so similar to ours that we frequently ask ourselves if they « think », at least in a wide sense. Plenty of times, animals show behaviors that allow us to ascribe them mental states. The latter, however, is an often-discussed possibility that has been debated by contemporary philosophers and scholars working on cognitive sciences. Within Ancient and Medieval philosophy there is an especial emphasis in the similarities between the animal and human cognitive systems. This paper argues that both philosophers, Aristotle and Avicenna, offer some epistemological considerations that may justify animal knowledge.