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This article describes the intellect as a kind of potency according to F. Suarez’s teaching. Specifically, it aims the question whether the intellect is an active or passive potency, on the one hand; and a rational or irrational potency, on the other. To do so, it clarifies the exact meaning of these terms in suarezian thought. Suarez builds his account of intellect as potency on eclectic basis, which is made up of thomistic and scotistic elements. As a consequence, although he uses thomistic terminology, the content of this theory is deeply scotistic. Only keeping this in mind it is possible to understand that Suarez’s statement: «the intellect is a passive potency» means in fact that is a quasi-active potency, and to understand how he claims both that the intellect is an essentially rational potency but it is not free. The aim of the article is to show the scotistic background of Suarez’s account on the topic.