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alexander, intellect and chief

ALEXANDRISTS. In the period of the Renaissance there came to be a vigorous con troversy between the adherents of different traditions of Aristotelianism. The chief schools of the Aristotelians were the Thomists, or fol lowers of Thomas Aquinas, the Averroists, or followers of Averroes, and the Alexandrists, or followers of Alexander of Aphrodisias (about 200 A.D.). The chief point at issue among these three schools was that of the existence and na ture of immortality. The Thomists, of course, as the advocates of the orthodox doctrine of the Catholic faith, held that the intellect re tained its individuality after death. Alexander and his followers, on the other hand, believed that the intellect was double in nature, con taining a passive, formless, mortal part, con nected with the lower psychical functions and acting as a tabula rasa in its reception of the active intellect which, though immortal, was not regarded by Alexander as individual. In deed, he identified this active intellect with the Deity. Averroes really held practically the same view as Alexander, but differed in his terminology, for what Alexander called the passive intellect was regarded by Averroes as a mere non-intellectual disposition, while what Averroes called the passive intellect is the re sult of the particularization of the active in tellect by contact with the specific dispositions of the minds of different individuals. Averroes

did not identify active intellect with the Deity, but with an emanation of the Deity; however, he attributed to it immortality. Similar as were the views of Alexander and Averroes, in the Renaissance the followers of Alexander put their chief emphasis on the mortality of the passive reason, the Averroists on the non individual immortality of the active reason, so that a violent antagonism developed between the two schools which soon attached itself to many other points. The chief Averroists were Nicoletto Vernias ( ?-1499), Alexander Achillini of Bologna (?-1518, Augustino Nifo (1473 1546), Zimara ( ?-1532). The chief Alexan drists were Ermolao Barbaro (1454-93), Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1524), Gasparo Con tarini (?-1542), Simon Porta (?-1555), Scal iger (1484-1558). The chief Thomist was Francis Suarez of Granada (1548-1617).