Apprehension and Argument: Ancient Theories of Starting Points for Knowledge

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Springer Science & Business Media, Mar 6, 2007 - Philosophy - 328 pages
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If we know something, do we always know it through something else? Does this mean that the chain of knowledge should continue infinitely? Or, rather, should we abandon this approach and ask how we acquire knowledge? Irrespective of the fact that very basic questions concerning human knowledge have been formulated in various ways in different historical and philosophical contexts, philosophers have been surprisingly unanimous concerning the point that structures of knowledge should not be infinite. In order for there to be knowledge, there must be at least some primary elements which may be called ‘starting points’.

This book offers the first synoptic study of how the primary elements in knowledge structures were analysed in antiquity from Plato to late ancient commentaries, the main emphasis being on the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition. It argues that, in the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition, the question of starting points was treated from two distinct points of view: from the first perspective, as a question of how we acquire basic knowledge; and from the second perspective, as a question of the premises we may immediately accept in the line of argumentation. It was assumed that we acquire some general truths rather naturally and that these function as starting points for inquiry. In the Hellenistic period, an alternative approach was endorsed: the very possibility of knowledge became a central issue when sceptics began demanding that true claims should always be distinguishable from false ones.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
THE TOPIC SCOPE AND AIM OF THIS BOOK
2
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK
6
A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE EXISTING LITERATURE
12
THEORIES OF ARGUMENTATION
17
Arguments as Socratic Discussions
18
The Method of Hypothesis
22
Collection and Division
32
222 Projective Theories
168
Plotinus
170
224 Perceptual Realism and the Reliability of Perceptions
171
Realism without Reliability?
172
Perceptibility as a Modalised Notion
173
23 FROM PERCEPTION TO INTELLECTION
175
231 Intelligible Forms
176
Aristotle
181

Philosophical Cosmology
35
12 ARISTOTLE
37
121 Aristotles Inheritance from the Academy
38
Induction
59
Conceptual Analysis
65
122 Science
68
Being Better Known
69
Premises of Scientific Proofs
72
Proofs and Definitions
86
Do the Sciences Have Something in Common?
89
Remarks on Aristotles Scientific Practice
96
Knowledge of the Premises
102
13 LATER DEVELOPMENTS
112
131 Some Developments in Platonism
113
Alcinous
118
Plotinus
122
132 Greek Commentaries on Aristotle
126
Alexander of Aphrodisias
127
Themistius
138
Philoponus
142
Simplicius
149
INTELLECTUAL APPREHENSION
155
22 PERCEPTION
162
221 Receptive Theories
163
Causation through Medium
164
232 Later Developments
194
Alexander Themistius Philoponus
199
HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHY
219
31 IS THERE A STARTING POINT FOR KNOWLEDGE?
222
Perceptions and Cognitive Impressions
228
Preconceptions
238
The Problem of Vagueness
251
32 IS THERE A TRANSITION FROM THE EVIDENT TO THE NONEVIDENT?
254
321 Epicurus
255
The Method of Elimination and the Method of Similarity
260
322 Stoics and Sextus Indemonstrable Argument Forms
265
Proofs
266
Arguments Involving a NonNecessary
269
Rejection of Proof
271
33 WHAT IS LEFT FOR THE SCEPTIC?
272
Pyrrhonian Scepticism and NonDogmatic Beliefs
273
34 WHAT DOES A DOCTOR KNOW? MEDICAL EMPIRICISM AS AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE
276
Empiricist Expertise
281
CONCLUSION
289
BIBLIOGRAPHY
295
INDEX OF NAMES
313
INDEX LOCORUM
317
INDEX OF TOPICS
325
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Miira Tuouminen, a researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, is the author of "Apprehension and Argument: Ancient Theories of Starting Points for Knowledge.

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