Ancient Epistemology by Lloyd P. Gerson

By Lloyd P. Gerson

This can be the 1st identify within the Key subject matters in historic Philosophy sequence, which supplies concise books, written by means of significant students and available to non-specialists, on very important subject matters in old philosophy which stay of philosophical curiosity this present day. during this booklet, Professor Gerson explores old bills of the character of information and trust from the Presocratics as much as the Platonists of past due antiquity. He argues that old philosophers ordinarily held a naturalistic view of information in addition to of trust. as a result, wisdom used to be no longer seen as a stipulated or semantically decided form of trust yet used to be really a true or objectively determinable fulfillment. actually, its attainment used to be exact with the top attainable cognitive success, particularly knowledge. It used to be this naturalistic view of information at which the traditional Skeptics took objective. The publication concludes through evaluating the traditional naturalistic epistemology with a few modern types.

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Intellection amounts to cognising a ‘many’ as essentially one. Intellection as reduction is evident most conspicuously in mathematics where every equation of the form A = B amounts to a claim that two ‘things’ are the same owing to a self-identical underlying one. It is also evident in, for example, the reduction of geometry to arithmetic. In this regard, it should be noted that for Plato, as for all the Greeks, one is not a number but the principle of number. According to Aristotle’s testimony, in addition to the One, which is the first principle of everything, there is a first principle of multiplicity, variously called the Indefinite Dyad or the Great and Small.

This seems highly unlikely, however, since it is a constant principle of Plato’s various accounts of definition that we cannot know whether or not a Form has a property without first knowing what that Form is. If this is so, then whether or not we need to know why Justice is good, we cannot answer this question until we know what Justice is. But the text seems to insist that we cannot know this without ‘grasping’ that which makes Forms knowable and gives them their being, namely, the Idea of the Good (511B–C).

The characterisation of the philosopher (and his counterfeits) is thus the fulcrum of the entire work, for it is he alone who is capable both of transforming the state and of the true happiness that coincides with the perfectly just life. The distinction between the philosopher and his counterfeits rests upon the distinction between knowledge and belief. In the pursuit of these is the métier of each to be found. This does not of course mean that the way that the Standard Analysis distinguishes knowledge and belief cannot be endorsed by Plato.

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