In the Posterior Analytics, Aristotle develops a theory of demonstration as a way of gaining causal knowledge of things or events (pragmata) under the general plan of constructing both an ideal structure for demonstrative science and a unified, comprehensive theory of heuristic inquiry. The Aristotelian idea of “demonstrative science” is derived from his attempt to characterize the conditions for “knowledge simpliciter (epistêmê haplôs),” that is, causal and necessary knowledge. This article first shows that Aristotle's inquiry theory is a heuristic theory and as such yields scientific knowledge within the scope of his theory of demonstration, and then examines the difficulties which arise concerning the relation between demonstration and definition. In particular, if demonstrations and definitions turn out to be unrelated in terms of their objects, predications, or methods, Aristotle's general plan will be a failure. The article explores how Aristotle attempts to construct a demonstration of what it is. Finally, by analysing his new theory of definition, the article considers how far he has succeeded in developing his heuristic demonstrative inquiry theory.
Gareth B. Matthews
Epistemology and metaphysics as described by Socrates is the crux of this article. Socrates here is all set to assess the wisdom of the candidates. He goes about arguing as to who is wiser and the various aspects of wisdom. He also elaborates on wisdom as a virtue. The article further harps on the idea of what counts as knowledge and also highlights the differences between Socratic Ignorance and Complete Ignorance.
J. H. Lesher
This article explores Presocratic epistemology, arguing that divine revelation is replaced as a warrant for knowledge with naturalistic accounts of how and what we humans can know; thus replacing earlier Greek pessimism about knowledge with a more optimistic outlook that allows for human discovery of the truth. A review of the relevant fragments and testimonia shows that Xenophanes, Alcmaeon, Heraclitus, and Parmenides—even Pythagoras and Empedocles—all moved some distance away from the older “god-oriented” view of knowledge toward a more secular and optimistic outlook. But to get some sense of the dynamics at work in this transition this article begins, as virtually every account of early Greek thought must begin, with Homer and Hesiod.
Christopher C. W. Taylor
The attempt to understand and develop Plato's philosophical views has a long history, starting with Aristotle and Plato's institutional successors in the academy towards the end of the fourth century
The Theaetetus is a principal field of battle for one of the main disputes between Plato's interpreters. This is the dispute between unitarians and revisionists. This article focuses on Plato's ideas on unitarians and revisionists. Plato's greatest work on epistemology, in the Theaetetus, Plato has much to say about the nature of knowledge elsewhere. But only the Theaetetus offers a set-piece discussion of the question “What is knowledge?” This question is raised most vividly for readers of Plato when assessing the central epistemological claim of the Republic: that knowledge is impossible unless one grasps the forms, and also for those who do not recognize the existence of the forms. Plato adopts a complex strategy for examining the nature of knowledge in the Theaetetus: he sometimes has Socrates examine a conception of knowledge purely on its own terms. The two major ideas dealt with in the article are change and form.
This article examines the different responses of virtue theory to skepticism. It explains that virtue theory is concerned with philosophical evaluation of human agents in their interaction with the world and its central focus in on understanding agents and the habits and dispositions through which their interactions in the world unfold allows for the acknowledgment of analogies between epistemic and ethical evaluation. It analyses the responses of the proponents of the virtue epistemology (VE) to radical skepticism, particularly the Pyrrhonian skepticism and the underdetermination-based argument. It provides suggestions on how to improve the prospects of virtue-theoretic responses to skepticism and outline a version of VE that seeks to recast somewhat how we understand the externalist turn in epistemology.
This article reviews some recent history of epistemology, focusing on ways in which the intellectual virtues have been invoked to solve specific epistemological problems. It gives a sense of the contemporary landscape that has emerged, and clarifies some of the disagreements among those who invoke the virtues in epistemology. Furthermore, it explores some epistemological problems in greater detail. It also defends a particular approach in virtue epistemology by displaying its power in addressing these problems. It pursues the idea that a minimalist, reliabilist notion of the intellectual virtues is useful for constructing an account of knowledge. It sets out to support this on the ground that this approach to intellectual virtue can adequately address three major problems in the theory of knowledge: Humean skepticism, the Gettier problem, and the problem of showing that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief.