Aristotle on Knowledge. Aristotle 384-322 BC 384-322 BC Student of Plato (429-327) Student of Plato (429-327) Teacher of Alexander (353-323) Teacher of.

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  • Aristotle on Knowledge

  • Aristotle384-322 BCStudent of Plato (429-327)Teacher of Alexander (353-323)Founded LyceumWe have his lecture notesPosterior AnalyticsMetaphysics

  • FormsAristotle rejected Platos theory of FormsThird Man argumentWe recognise Bob as a man because he participates in the Form of ManWe recognise the Form of Man as the Form of Bob because both have something in commonBoth participate in a further Form of Man the Third man.We recognise the Third Man as a Form of Man because of a Fourth Man

  • FormsAristotle rejected Platos theory of FormsForms cant explain changeA thing which is small may become largeIt began participating in SmallIt ends by participating in LargeHow?

  • Forms and MatterAristotle had a theory of FormsForms are the patterns of existing thingsForms impose a pattern on MatterDuck, daisy, dish same matter, different formThe two exist together they are only logically distinctMatter and Form constitute Substances the basic things in the world

  • SubstanceSubstances are the things that have propertiesAristotle lists categories, or kinds of property.Quantity, quality, relation, location, time, position, habit, action, passionChange can now be understoodSubstance takes on new propertiesSocrates was sad but becomes happyMaterial of Substance takes on new FormsSocrates was young but gets old, and dies

  • CausesAristotle proposes 4 type of causeMaterial The statue is brown because it is bronzeFormal The statue has legs because it is the image of a manEffective The statue looks like a man because the bronze was poured into a man-shaped mouldFinal The statue was made because it honours Pericles

  • ExplanationsThese causes are really kinds of explanationsThey are answers to the question Why is S a P?Why is the statue brown? (Why is it a brown thing?)Why is the moon eclipsed?Why is the child ugly?Why go walking?

  • ExplanationsWhat explains why S is P?Look at the standard syllogism in his Logic Socrates is a Man All Men are Persons Socrates is a Person

    This justifies believing that Socrates is a PersonIt also explains why Socrates is a Person (S is P)

  • ExplanationsTake any argument of the form S is M M is P S is P

    We can say: Why is S a P? Because S is M and M is PTo find an explanation we just need to find the right M (called the Middle Term) to go between S and P

  • ExplanationsSo: Why is the Statue Brown? We have: Statue is M M is Brown Statue is Brown

  • ExplanationsSo: Why is the Statue Brown? We have: Statue is Bronze Bronze is Brown Statue is Brown

    The reason is, because the Statue is Bronze and Bronze is Brown

  • ExplanationsSimilarly for the other questionsWhy is the moon eclipsed?Because it is darkened by earths shadow, and to be darkened by Earths shadow is to be eclipsedThat is the formal cause

  • ExplanationsSimilarly for the other questionsWhy is the child ugly?Because the father is ugly and ugly fathers have ugly childrenThat is the efficient cause

  • ExplanationsSimilarly for the other questionsWhy go walking?Because those who want to be healthy go walking, and we want to be healthyThat is the final cause

  • Scientific KnowledgeEpisteme is a collection of such deductions

    We suppose ourselves to possess unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophist knows, when we think that we know the cause on which the fact depends, as the cause of that fact and of no other, and, further, that the fact could not be other than it is (Post. An. 1.2)

  • Scientific Knowledgethe cause of that fact and of no other Statue is Bronze Bronze is Brown Statue is Brown

    Given the first two premises only the conclusion follows, and no other

  • Scientific Knowledgethe fact could not be other than it is Statue is Bronze Bronze is Brown Statue is Brown

    Given the first two premises the conclusion could not be other than it is (validity)

  • Scientific KnowledgeEpisteme requires conditions on such deductions the premises of demonstrated knowledge must be true, primary, immediate, better known than and prior to the conclusion, which is further related to them as effect to cause Deduction with these conditions is Demonstration (Apodeixis)Demonstration thus excludes trivial or irrelevant deductions

  • Scientific Knowledgethe premises of demonstrated knowledge must be true False premises make a syllogism unsound All men are vegetables All vegetables are mortal All men are mortal

    This syllogism doesnt give us knowledge

  • Scientific Knowledgethe premises of demonstrated knowledge must be better known than and prior to the conclusion There is a difference between what is prior and better known in the order of being and what is prior and better known to man. I mean that objects nearer to sense are prior and better known to man; objects without qualification prior and better known are those further from sense. Now the most universal causes are furthest from sense and particular causes are nearest to sense, and they are thus exactly opposed to one another

  • Scientific Knowledgethe premises of demonstrated knowledge must be better known than and prior to the conclusionThings may be known immediately to our sensesThat triangular patch of grass is greenSuch things are not certain or universal or eternal

  • Scientific Knowledgethe premises of demonstrated knowledge must be better known than and prior to the conclusionOther things may be known less immediatelyThe internal angles of a triangle sum to 180oSuch things can be known more certainly as they are universal and eternal

  • Scientific KnowledgeThe demonstrations that constitute epistemeForm a structure of linked deductionsEach link in the chain of deductions is such that the causes are more general than the subject and predicate being explained

  • IntuitionsDemonstrations are only as good as their premisesHow do we come to know them? Choices are:Chain of premises and conclusions is endlessEpisteme is impossibleChain is circularKnowledge has no foundationFirst premises existThey are not knowable by demonstration

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    Therefore we must possess a capacity of some sort [for getting knowledge without demonstration.] ... And this at least is an obvious characteristic of all animals, for they possess a congenital discriminative capacity which is called sense-perception.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    But though sense-perception is innate in all animals, in some the sense-impression comes to persist, in others it does not. So animals in which this persistence does not come to be have either no knowledge at all outside the act of perceiving, or no knowledge of objects of which no impression persists; animals in which it does come into being have perception and can continue to retain the sense-impression in the soul.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    And when such persistence is frequently repeated a further distinction at once arises between those which out of the persistence of such sense-impressions develop a power of systematizing them and those which do not. So out of sense-perception comes to be what we call memory, and out of frequently repeated memories of the same thing develops experience; for a number of memories constitute a single experience.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    From experience again i.e. from the universal now stabilized in its entirety within the soul, the one beside the many which is a single identity within them all originate the skill of the craftsman and the knowledge of the man of science, skill in the sphere of coming to be and science in the sphere of being.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    Thus it is clear that we must get to know the primary premises by induction (epagoge); for the method by which even sense-perception implants the universal is inductive.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    Now of the thinking states by which we grasp truth, some are unfailingly true, others admit of error opinion, for instance, and calculation, whereas scientific knowing and intuition (nos) are always true: further, no other kind of thought except intuition is more accurate than scientific knowledge, whereas primary premises are more knowable than demonstrations, and all scientific knowledge is discursive.

  • IntuitionsFirst premises are known by induction from sense data

    From these considerations it follows that there will be no scientific knowledge of the primary premises, and since except intuition nothing can be truer than scientific knowledge, it will be intuition that apprehends the primary premises a result which also follows from the fact that demonstration cannot be the originative source of demonstration, nor, consequently, scientific knowledge of scientific knowledge.

  • InvestigationsEpisteme is a structure of demonstrationsLeading upwards from more general to more particular truthsGiving the causes of thingsBased on undemonstrated conceptual truths We discover the bases through intuition

    How do we discover the demonstrations?

  • InvestigationsCollect facts of appearances (phenomena)

    It is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and of the stars, and about the genesis of the universe.

    The senses are generally reliableIt is their function to tell us about the world

  • InvestigationsConsider reputable opinions (endoxa)

    As in other cases, we must set out the appearances and run through all the puzzles regarding them. In this way we must test the credible opinions about these sorts of experiences ideally, all the credible opinions, but if not all, then most of them, those which are the most important.

  • InvestigationsApply dialectic (elenchus/Socratic Method/)

    Dialectic is useful for philosophical sorts of sciences because when we are able to run through the puzzles on both sides of an issue we more readily perceive what is true and what is false.

  • InvestigationsApply dialectic (elenchus/Socratic Method/)

    Furthermore, it is useful for uncovering what is primary among the commitments of a science; for it is impossible to say anything regarding the first principles of a science on the basis of the first principles proper to the very science under discussion, since among all the commitments of a science, the first principles are the primary ones.

  • InvestigationsApply dialectic (elenchus/Socratic Method/)

    This comes rather, necessarily, from discussion of the credible beliefs (endoxa) belonging to the science. This is peculiar to dialectic, or is at least most proper to it. For since it is what cross-examines, dialectic contains the way to the first principles of all inquiries.

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