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Empedocles on Sensation, Perception, and Thought

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Patricia Curd
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Aristotle claims that Empedocles took perception and knowledge to be the same; Theophrastus follows Aristotle. The paper begins by examining why Aristotle and Theophrastus identify thought/knowing with perception in Empedocles. I maintain that the extant fragments do not support the assertion that Empedocles identifies or conflates sensation with thought or cognition. Indeed, the evidence of the texts shows that Empedocles is careful to distinguish them, and argues that to have genuine understanding one must not be misled into supposing that sense perception is sufficient for knowledge. Nevertheless, sense perception is necessary for human knowing.

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