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.
Scholars often assert that Plato and Aristotle share the view that discursive thought (dianoia) is internal speech (TIS). However, there has been little work to clarify or substantiate this reading. In this paper I show Plato and Aristotle share some core commitments about the relationship of thought and speech, but cash out TIS in different ways. Plato and Aristotle both hold that discursive thinking is a process that moves from a set of doxastic states to a final doxastic state. The resulting judgments (doxai) can be true or false. Norms govern these final judgments and, in virtue of that, they govern the process that arrives at those judgments. The principal norm is consistency. However, the philosophers differ on the source of this norm. For Plato, persuasiveness and accuracy ground non-contradiction because internal speech is dialogical. For Aristotle, the Principle of Non-Contradiction grounds a Doxastic Thesis (DT) that no judgment can contradict itself. For Aristotle, metaphysics grounds non-contradiction because internal speech is monological.
This contribution investigates whether Hegel’s critique of social contract theory is still applicable to contemporary contract theory proposed by, e. g., Rawls and Nozick. At first sight, they seem to have overcome the problems identified by Hegel because Rawls and Nozick appropriate the social contract as something essentially rational and normative (though in different ways). I argue, however, that for Hegel, their appeal to rational argumentation is not compatible with the concreteness of human individuals. A revised reading of the master/ bondsman-relation, emphasizing the role of the “fear of death”, shows the limited scope of contemporary contract theory.
In Plato’s Euthyphro, Euthyphro proposes to analyse the pious as that which is beloved of the gods. In the most widely discussed argument of the dialogue, Socrates tries to show that Euthyphro’s analysis fails. The argument crucially involves an ingenious use of the explanatory connective ‘because’ (ὃτι). This paper presents a detailed reconstruction and defence of the argument. It starts with a rigorous analysis of its logical form, explains and justifies its premises, and closes with a defence of the argument against the strongest common objection.