The study presents F. Suárez’s theory of the principles of sensation in the context of medieval (Averroes, John of Jandun) and renaissance philosophy (Nifo, Cajetan). It proceeds in five steps. First, it considers Suárez’s ontology of sensory cognitive act. Second, it treats Suárez’s theory of the formation of sensible species. Third, it presents Suárez’s ontology of sensible species. Fourth, it exposes Suárez’s theory of the efficient causes of the sensory cognitive act. In conclusion, the author states that Suárez’s theory, compared to the doctrines of Aquinas and Thomists, constitutes the significant historical shift from cognitive passivism to cognitive activism mirroring the Zeitgeist of the Renaissance philosophy without abandoning the basic tenets of the traditional Aristotelian – scholastic philosophy.