Sextus responds to the Dogmatists’ criticism that the Sceptics cannot investigate Dogmatic theses, formulating his own version of Meno’s puzzle against them. He thus forces them to adopt υοεῐυ ἁπλῶς – a way of thinking that does not carry any commitment to the reality of what someone thinks – as their only solution to the puzzle and as the necessary starting point of their investigation. Nοεῐυ ἁπλῶς avoids Dogmatic assumptions without making use of the Sceptical argumentation that leads to suspension of judgment. It constitutes a novel answer to Meno’s puzzle, Dogmatism- and Scepticism-free, with important consequences both for Dogmatism and for Scepticism.
The opening discussion of the Meno features a halting conversation in which Meno struggles at length to answer Socrates’ question, “What is Virtue?” Whereas Socrates demands a unitary account, presenting Virtue as one, Meno repeatedly speaks of Virtue in plurality. Through the opposing sides of this conflict, Plato highlights impediments that appear to prevent ordinary speakers from inquiring into nature. These include the fallibility of ordinary beliefs and statements, and the inability of ordinary speakers to countenance properties as entities in their own right. In an argument often overlooked by interpreters, Plato reveals commitments implicit in ordinary discourse by which these impediments are overcome. As this argument shows, ordinary speakers such as Meno take their own terms to speak univocally and truly about a plurality of items. This is sufficient basis to proceed in dialectic, and to inquire into nature, through language.
In this paper, Stoic epistemology is analysed in terms of how to achieve a stable grasping of reality through katalepsis. The paper argues that for the Stoics, this is a state accessible to any rational being because it is the upshot of a mental capacity we are necessarily bound to put into operation, namely that of experiencing and mentally ordering objects from the sensible world. The paper puts forward an original interpretation relying on a reconsidered notion of Stoic empeiria or experience. It connects the Stoic theory of the development of reason and formation of conceptions with a more fluid oscillation between belief and knowledge so as to establish a peculiar relation between reason and the Stoic notion of experience, articulating a form of rational empiricism.
Abstract: Socrates in the Apology takes an adventurous approach to belief. Although he lacks knowledge, he holds strong beliefs about virtue and the human good. These beliefs count as wisdom only if they are supported by the ability to explain why they are true, and Socrates lacks this ability. To understand why Socrates holds these beliefs, Gorgias 481c–482c is examined. He claims there always to say the same thing and to agree with himself. His beliefs allow him to maintain a stable core of harmonious beliefs. This provides some evidence of the truth of his beliefs and forms one aspect of his human wisdom.