Knowing in Aristotle part 2: Technē, phronēsis, sophia, and divine cognitive activities

Philosophy Compass 17 (1):e12799 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this second of a 2-part survey of Aristotle’s epistemology, I present an overview of Aristotle’s views on technē (craft or excellent productive reason) and phronēsis (practical wisdom or excellent practical reason). For Aristotle, attaining the truth in practical matters involves actually doing the right action. While technē and phronēsis are rational excellences, for Aristotle they are not as excellent or true as epistēmē or nous because the kinds of truth that they grasp are imperfect and because they are excellent states for humans, not simply speaking. I then discuss why Aristotle takes sophia (wisdom), understanding and scientific knowledge of the best things, to be its own excellence. While this is the best cognitive state for human beings, I argue that Aristotle thinks divine cognitive activity is different in kind and more perfect than any human activity.

Similar books and articles

Phronesis in Plato’s Intellectual System.Sahar Kavandi & Maryam Ahmadi - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 13 (26):317-337.
Why the practice of medicine is not a phronetic activity.Duff Waring - 2000 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (2):139-151.
Empeiria and Good Habits in Aristotle’s Ethics.Marta Jimenez - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (3):363-389.
Back to the Rough Ground. [REVIEW]William Desmond - 1995 - Review of Metaphysics 48 (3):654-655.
Aristotle and Expertise: Ideas on the Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):599-609.
Phronesis, clinical reasoning, and Pellegrino's philosophy of medicine.F. Daniel Davis - 1997 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (1-2):173-195.
Aristotle. [REVIEW]Ben Morison - 2009 - Phronesis 54 (2):204-213.
The ontological reappropriation of phronēsis.Christopher P. Long - 2002 - Continental Philosophy Review 35 (1):35-60.


Added to PP

804 (#17,924)

6 months
325 (#5,884)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Caleb Cohoe
Metropolitan State University of Denver