Ancient Epistemology by Lloyd P. Gerson

By Lloyd P. Gerson

This is often the 1st identify within the Key topics in old Philosophy sequence, which supplies concise books, written via significant students and obtainable to non-specialists, on vital issues in old philosophy which stay of philosophical curiosity at the present time. during this ebook, Professor Gerson explores historical bills of the character of information and trust from the Presocratics as much as the Platonists of past due antiquity. He argues that historical philosophers normally held a naturalistic view of data in addition to of trust. for this reason, wisdom used to be now not seen as a stipulated or semantically made up our minds kind of trust yet used to be particularly a true or objectively determinable success. in truth, its attainment was once exact with the top attainable cognitive fulfillment, specifically knowledge. It used to be this naturalistic view of information at which the traditional Skeptics took goal. The publication concludes by way of evaluating the traditional naturalistic epistemology with a few modern types.

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12 By contrast, seekers after knowledge use the hypotheses of the others as starting-points for an ascent to a first unhypothetical principle, the Good (511B–C). And just as there is a distinction between the practice of mathematicians and the understanding they seek, so there is a distinction between the practice of philosophers, called ‘dialectic’, and the knowledge they seek. It is only when the first principle is grasped that knowledge is attainable. This claim coheres exactly with the previous one that it is the Idea of the Good that provides knowability to Forms.

There are several things that are unclear in this line, especially what a ‘piece of knowledge’ is and why stability follows upon the conversion of a true belief into a piece of knowledge. The line leaves open the possibility that one who has knowledge through recollection is in a different position with respect to his true belief from one who does not have the same knowledge is with respect to his true belief. If this is the case, it does not follow that the knowledge of the former is of the same object as his true belief.

For the mathematician also hypothesises things like ‘odd’ and ‘even’ which themselves are not analysable. Further, if we could reach ultimate definitions of the ‘elements’ of geometrical figures, there seems to be no reason why the cognition of these would not count as understanding, too. That is, the difference between understanding and knowledge, insisted upon by Plato, would be effaced. It seems rather to be the case that he takes understanding and knowledge to be fundamentally different mental states, not a single mental state with more or less simple conceptual objects.

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