The Pyrrhonian skeptics occupy a paradoxical place in the history of “philosophical inquiry”. On the one hand, they are the only school that self-consciously defined themselves as inquirers, this being, of course, the root meaning of skeptikos . 1 Moreover, they developed
with differences—or so at least I believe, and intend to show.
The Starting-Point of Scepticism
Sceptics start out their inquiries with the same motivations as everyone else. They are puzzled by “the inconcinnity in things” ( ē tōn pragmatōn anōmalia ), and seek to resolve these
What is the relation, in Plato, between the account of knowledge and the account of inquiry? Is the account of knowledge independent of the account of inquiry? Taking up this question is a large task, not least because, while so much work has been done on Plato’s account of
early thinkers addressed epistemic questions but never conceptualized them as, therefore failed to thematize them into, a distinct subject of enquiry. […] there is no Presocratic instance of critical appraisal of an argument or a theory, or of a self-criticism. [….] But, even if we admit that the early
The Importance of Inquiry for Understanding (Ancient) Philosophy
At least since Socrates, philosophy has been understood as the desire for acquiring a special kind of knowledge, namely wisdom, a kind of knowledge that human beings ordinarily do not possess. According to ancient thinkers
According to Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhonian Sceptics possess the capacity to motivate suspension of judgement concerning any given matter of inquiry by setting contrary but equipollent arguments in opposition ( Outlines of Pyrrhonism [= PH ] I .8–11). The oppositional capacity ( dunamis
Aristotle tells us that the Nicomachean Ethics (= NE ) is an “inquiry” and an “investigation” ( methodos and zētēsis , see NE 1094b10–11, 1102a12–15). One important way that the work comprises an investigation is that it is a prolonged search for the definition of
Among contemporary epistemologists of testimony, David Hume is standardly regarded as a ‘global reductionist’, where global reductionism requires the hearer to have sufficient first-hand knowledge of the facts in order to individually ascertain the reliability of the testimony in question. In the present paper, I argue that, by construing Hume’s reductionism in too individualistic a fashion, the received view of Hume on testimony is inaccurate at best, and misleading at worst. Overall, Hume is much more willing to regard testimonial acceptance as a natural (default) response to testimony than has traditionally been thought. In particular, Hume believes that indirect evidence of human nature and of the social world around us, can take the place of first-hand evidence of the track record of individual speakers or specific classes of testimony. In developing this interpretation of Hume’s views on testimony, the present paper draws on discussions found in the Treatise, the Enquiry, and in Hume’s writings on historical knowledge.
In der zeitgenössischen Debatte um den erkenntnistheoretischen Status zeugnisbasiertenWissens wird gern auf David Hume als den Urheber eines „globalen Reduktionismus“ verwiesen, demzufolge der Zeugnisempfänger über ausreichend empirische Belege für die Verlässlichkeit des betreffenden Zeugnisses verfügen muss. Im vorliegenden Aufsatz soll gezeigt werden, dass die in der Literatur vorherrschende Meinung ein übertrieben „individualistisches“ Bild von Humes Reduktionismus zeichnet; dadurch wird Humes Position in der gegenwärtigen Debatte ungenau und bisweilen irreführend wiedergegeben. Bei genauerer Betrachtung erweist sich Hume als ausgesprochen aufgeschlossen gegenüber dem Akzeptieren fremden Zeugnisses und sieht darin eine Art Grundmuster im testimonialen Umgang mit anderen. Insbesondere konzediert Hume, dass indirekt erworbenes Wissen um die menschliche Natur und die soziale Welt an die Stelle direkter Belege für die Verlässlichkeit einzelner Zeugen (oder bestimmter Klassen von Berichten) treten kann. Die im vorliegenden Aufsatz entwickelte Neuinterpretation stützt sich auf den Treatise, den Enquiry und auf Humes Schriften zum Problem der historischen Erkenntnis.
The article examines Aristotle’s seminal discussion of the fallacy of begging the question (petitio principii), reconstructing its complex articulation within a variety of different, but related, contexts (the “dialectic” of the Topics and the Sophistical Refutations, the “logic” of the Aristotelian theory of syllogism, and the “epistemology” of the inquiry into “scientific” syllogisms). I suggest that close analysis of Aristotle’s understanding of the fallacy should prompt critical reconsideration of the scope and articulation of the fallacy in modern discussions and usages, suggesting how begging the question should be distinguished from a number of only partially related argumentative faults.
In Metaphysics IV.2 Aristotle assigns a very specific role to dialectic in philosophical and scientific inquiry. This role consists of the use of the special form of dialectic which he calls peirastic. This is not a new conception of, or a new role for, dialectic in philosophy and science, but one also assigned to it in the Topics and Sophistical Refutations. In the SE Aristotle lays down multiple overlapping requirements for the premises or bases for peirastic dialectical argument. These must be (1) things known by skilled practitioners of dialectic; (2) things in fact in accord with the science or subject of the peirastic dialectical encounter in question; (3) things known by non-experts as well as by experts in that subject, (4) things known even by ordinary people in general; (5) things believed by the answerer in the given peirastic encounter and (6) things which are as noted and accredited (endoxa) as possible. We can see from Aristotle’s discussion and from his, and earlier, examples that all of these various requirements can be and are met by a single identifiable set of propositions, one whose use gives a special power to peirastic, one adequate to show the falsity of particular pretensions to knowledge on specific points, in science and philosophy.