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.
Abstract: In her recent paper, “How to Escape Indictment for Impiety: Teaching as Punishment in the Euthyphro,” G. Fay Edwards argues that if Socrates were to become Euthyphro’s student, this should count as the appropriate punishment for Socrates’ alleged crime. In this paper, we show (1) that the interpretation Edwards has proposed conflicts with what Socrates has to say about the functional role of punishment in the Apology, and (2) that the account Socrates gives in the Apology, properly understood, also provides the correct interpretation of what Socrates says in the Euthyphro about the role of instruction for wrongdoers.
In Posterior Analytics 2.19, Aristotle argues that we cannot have innate knowledge of first principles because if we did we would have the most precise items of knowledge without noticing, which is impossible. To understand Aristotle’s argument we need to understand why he thinks we cannot possess these items of knowledge without noticing. In this paper, I present three different answers to this question and three different readings of his argument corresponding to them. The first two readings focus on the fact that we do not use the knowledge we allegedly possess innately. However, I argue that these readings fail to produce convincing arguments. I then offer a third reading, which focuses on the fact that we do not notice the knowledge we allegedly possess innately when we use it for the first time (i. e., on Plato’s account, when we recollect). I argue that this reading produces a more convincing argument than either of the first two.
In Posterior Analytics 71b9–12, we find Aristotle’s definition of scientific knowledge. The definiens is taken to have only two informative parts: scientific knowledge must be knowledge of the cause and its object must be necessary. However, there is also a contrast between the definiendum and a sophistic way of knowing, which is marked by the expression “kata sumbebekos”. Not much attention has been paid to this contrast. In this paper, I discuss Aristotle’s definition paying due attention to this contrast and to the way it interacts with the two conditions presented in the definiens. I claim that the “necessity” condition ammounts to explanatory appropriateness of the cause.
This paper argues that the duality of phantasia consists not in its being divided between two faculties, but in its being the meeting point of two representations. First it is argued that Plotinus’ theory, according to which the representation is a judgement, rests on his reading of Theaetetus 184c–187a and its criticism in De Anima III, 2–3. Second, it is argued that the ‘image’ in which the Plotinian representation consists follows the perceptual judgement instead of preceding it. Third, it is argued that there is neither a sub-sensitive faculty of phantasia nor a sub-sensitive representation. Then, the exteriority of the objects of representation with respect to the soul is discussed. Finally, an interpretation is proposed concerning the necessity for Plotinus to posit two representations of the same object.
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.
There seems to be tension between portrayals of Socrates as both a committed philosopher and a pious man. For instance, one might doubt Socrates’ commitment to philosophy since he seems to irrationally defer to a daimonion. On the other hand, the fact that he challenges messages from Oracles (Apology 21–22) and the gods’ role concerning the origin of the pious (Euthyphro 10–15) draws into question Socrates’ piety. In this paper, I argue that Socratic piety and rationality are not only compatible, but they are also symbiotic. Socrates could not be rational without being pious, nor could he be pious without being rational because, for him, care and curiosity are intimately intertwined. In this regard, Socrates’ epistemology, when applied, resembles Karl Popper’s falsificationism. For Socrates, maintaining human wisdom amounts to regular purification of one’s belief-system. In addition, this maintenance is functionally identical to caring for one’s soul, which is morally imperative.