Aquinas’ Theory of Knowledge and the Representative Theory of Perception

Ali Abedi Renani


The representative theory of perception is one of the realist theories of perception which maintains we do not have direct access to the objects of perception; our ideas represent some objective objects in the world. In this paper, I will address the question about the representative nature of mental ideas from a Thomistic perspective. I will explore if some Thomists are entitled to claim that Aquinas’ theory of knowledge based on his metaphysics can provide a basis for resolving this issue. I will argue that this question is wrong-headed and it should be replaced with the following question: If we assume the existence of a real world and that we are not under the influence of hallucination, how we can know that our ideas truly represent the world?


Representative theory of perception, Hylomorphism, Thomism, the identity Theory of Truth, Truth

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