By Lloyd P. Gerson
This can be the 1st identify within the Key topics in old Philosophy sequence, which gives concise books, written through significant students and obtainable to non-specialists, on very important issues in historic philosophy which stay of philosophical curiosity this present day. during this booklet, Professor Gerson explores old debts of the character of information and trust from the Presocratics as much as the Platonists of past due antiquity. He argues that historic philosophers ordinarily held a naturalistic view of data in addition to of trust. consequently, wisdom was once no longer considered as a stipulated or semantically decided kind of trust yet used to be relatively a true or objectively determinable fulfillment. in truth, its attainment was once exact with the top attainable cognitive success, particularly knowledge. It was once this naturalistic view of information at which the traditional Skeptics took goal. The publication concludes through evaluating the traditional naturalistic epistemology with a few modern types.
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Extra resources for Ancient Epistemology
To assume nature to be a kosmos is already to set oneself on a path the endpoint of which is intellection of the one or very few principles unifying everything. In this, Plato does seem to be following the Presocratics lead by explicitly declaring that the first principle of all is that which makes everything intelligible. Second, as I have interpreted Plato’s account of intellection in general, intellection is essentially a reductivist enterprise. Intellection amounts to cognising a ‘many’ as essentially one.
In any case, Democritus seems to be making an anti-Protagorean claim in suggesting that the way things appear to each of us (‘by convention’) is not the way they really are. Protagoras, as we have already seen, appears to Plato and Aristotle at least to commit himself to non-evident truths that are supposed somehow to explain the epistemic appearances. Is Democritus just being more consistent than Protagoras in inferring that objective reality – atoms in motion in the void – guarantees that all appearances will be nonepistemic?
No reason for this is to be found in the extant fragments, though both Plato and Aristotle will pay close attention to the claim, ultimately endorsing it in some sense. The logical passage from ‘being must be thus and so in order to be intelligible’ to ‘being is intelligible’ must pause to explain why ‘being must be thus and so’. When Plato and Aristotle each finish making this stop, they find themselves leaving behind Parmenides’ denial of the intelligibility of nature. That is, they arrived at conclusions about the intelligibility of being that did not entail that nature had to be unintelligible.