The Agent Intellect in Saint Albert's 'De Anima'

  • Álvaro Freile


In the De Anima of St. Albert the Great, the agent intellect is studied as a different entity than the possible intellect. This intellect is the active part of the intelligence because it is always in act, and therefore it can know itself perfectly and enlighten the intelligence.  Its characteristics are that it is separated from the concrete, it has no mixture with the body, because the latter is corruptible, whereas the agent intellect is eternal and immortal. It is also impassible because it does not pass from potency to act and it is a substance in act, meaning that it must be in a purely actual place, which creates a contradiction within the Albertian system, which places the agent intellect in the soul. The agent intellect will also be seen insofar as it interacts with the possible and insofar as both need each other. Finally, it will be discussed how the agent intellect comes before the possible and has more being, so that ignoring it renders the theory of human knowledge inexplicable.

Dec 18, 2023
How to Cite
FREILE, Álvaro. The Agent Intellect in Saint Albert's 'De Anima'. Colloquia, Academic Journal of Culture and Thought, [S.l.], v. 10, p. 196-214, dec. 2023. ISSN 1390-8731. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 apr. 2024. doi: