Sämtliche schriften und briefe series II, volume 1
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
pp 543-544

Date: 29 December 1684/8 January 1685

Translated from the Latin

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[A II 1, p543]

The passage you cite from Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics VII chap 14, is splendid,1 and from that it is rightly said that there is something more excellent than reason acting in us, divine in fact, although the reasons he puts forward concerning the enthusiasm and successes of the ignorant are not strong enough. The same thing can be demonstrated from the very nature of the mind, and by much better arguments. But I fear Aristotle may have had in mind here the dangerous opinion, of which he has elsewhere given an indication, of the universal agent intellect, which alone remains after death and is the same and in all men. [A II 1, p544] Averroists have revived this opinion. But the opinion itself, with that most awful addition left aside, is most excellent in itself, and conforms to reason and Scripture. For God is that light which illuminates all men coming into this world.2 And the truth which speaks within us, when we understand theorems of eternal certainty, is the actual voice of God, which Augustine has observed too.3


1. Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, VII 14, 1246b-1248b.
2. John 1.9.
3. Augustine, In Johannis evangelium tractatus 54.8.

© Lloyd Strickland 2007-08