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Pseudo-Philoponus on the role of experience in grasping the first principles

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Péter Lautner
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Aristotle’s notion of experience (in the sense involved in being an experienced person) occupies an important place in his account of scientific understanding and its methodology. It is linked, not only to sense-perception and the principles of skill and scientific understanding, but also, methodologically, to ἐπαγωγή. Due to its various involvements it has a complex job to perform. Such a complexity – or Janus-face – gives rise to many questions concerning its status and content. Many of these questions were raised in later antiquity. In the introductory part of the paper I shall give a very brief summary of Aristotle’s notion of experience, concentrating on issues that will be relevant next, and then discuss the explanation we find in a commentary which has come down to us under the name of Philoponus. I do it in the hope that the discussion sheds light on novelties in the commentator’s approach which deserve attention.

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