Aristotle's notion of experience plays an important role in his epistemology as the link between perception and memory on the one side, and higher cognitive capacities on the other side. However, Aristotle does not say much about it, and what he does say seems inconsistent. Notably, some passages suggest that it is a non-rational capacity, others that it is a rational capacity and that it provides the principles of science. This paper presents a unitary account of experience. It explains how (...) experience grows from perception and memory into a rational capacity, and in what way it provides the principles. (shrink)
In this paper I take a closer look at Sextus Empiricus’ arguments in his Outlines of Pyrrhonism I.25-30 and try to make sense of his account of Skepticism as a goal-directed philosophy. I argue that Sextus fails to mount a convincing case for the view that tranquility, rather than suspension of judgment, is the ultimate goal of his inquiries.
Sextus Empiricus portrays the Pyrrhonian sceptics in two radically different ways. On the one hand, he describes them as inquirers or examiners, and insists that what distinguishes them from all the other philosophical schools is their persistent engagement in inquiry. On the other hand, he insists that the main feature of Pyrrhonian attitude is suspension of judgement about everything. Many have argued that a consistent account of Sextan scepticism as both investigative and suspensive is not possible. The main obstacle to (...) characterizing Pyrrhonism as both investigative and suspensive is the fact that it seems that the mature sceptics, after they have suspended judgement and thus reached tranquillity, have no motivation for further inquiry. Any inquiry they seem to be interested in after they have suspended judgement is the refutation of beliefs needed for maintaining tranquillity. I try to show that the mature sceptics' removal of distress does not ipso facto mean removal of the desire for knowledge. This is because distress is not just a matter of unsatisfied desire, but of belief that one of the opposed appearances must be true, or, more generally, of belief that the truth is the only worthwhile epistemic goal. Having abandoned this belief, the sceptics can still engage in philosophical inquiries. This is because Sextus does not assume that philosophy is the search for truth: it is so only for the dogmatists. In a more general sense, applicable to the sceptics as well, philosophy is just an inquiry into certain things, and for the sceptics, its epistemic goal is still open. (shrink)
Abstract: In this paper I discuss Sextus Empiricus' response to the dogmatists' objection that the skeptics cannot inquire into philosophical theories and at the same time suspend judgment about everything. I argue that his strategy consists in putting the burden of proof on the dogmatists: it is they, and not the skeptics, who must justify the claim to be able to inquire into the nature of things. Sextus' arguments purport to show that if we consider the dogmatists' inquiry, we should (...) conclude either that it is impossible or that it does not supply the skeptics with satisfactory starting-points for further inquiry. (shrink)
This paper is an analysis of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics 7.3." Aristotle's discussion in this chapter is motivated by the Socratic doctrine, elaborated in Plato's "Protagoras," according to which it is impossible to know what is good and act against this knowledge. Aristotle wants to rebut this doctrine and show that there is a sense of "know" such that this is possible. I argue that this is all that he wants to do in EN 7.3, and that his discussion is not (...) meant to provide an explanation of akrasia, as is usually supposed by commentators. Since the akratic knows that the action she is performing is not good for her, and actions are particulars, the akratic's knowledge is about a particular. I argue that Aristotle's discussion in EN 7.3 adds strength to the idea that knowledge of a particular is explainable only in terms of knowledge of a universal. More determinately, knowledge of a particular is explainable in terms of the actualization or use of knowledge of a universal, and such an actualization is in turn explainable by means of the syllogistic form. Thus, I argue that syllogisms in 7.3 (esp. at 1146 35-1147 10) are not "practical syllogisms", but that their function is epistemological: they are meant to reveal the structure and content of the akratic's knowledge, not to explain her actions. (shrink)
In Meno 80d5-e5, we find two sets of objections concerning the possibility of inquiry in the absence of knowledge: the so-called and the This essay first shows that the eristic argument is not simply a restatement of Meno's paradox, but instead an objection of a completely different kind: Meno's paradox concerns not inquiry as such, but rather Socrates' inquiry into virtue as is pursued in the first part of the Meno, whereas the eristic argument indicates a manner in which Meno's (...) paradox can be generalized. This implies that they cannot be resolved by the same argument. It is then argued that the theory of recollection, as presented in Socrates' experiment with the slave, cannot resolve Meno's paradox, its target being only the eristic argument. Only the hypothetical method of inquiry is the effective answer to Meno's paradox. Finally, this essay contends that, contrary to what the text might suggest, Socrates, by introducing the hypothetical method, does not abandon his principle that knowing what something is precedes knowing what something is like. (shrink)
Transitionaljustice mechanisms and the International Criminal Tribunal for the FormerYugoslavia (ICTY) have had only a limited success in overcoming ethnic divisionsin Bosnia-Herzegovina. Rather than elaborating upon the role of local politicalelites in perpetuating ethnic divisions, we examine ordinary peoples’ popularperceptions of war and its aftermath. In our view, the idea that elites havecomplete control over the broader narratives about the past is misplaced. Weargue that transitional justice and peace mechanisms supported by externalactors are always interpreted on the ground in context-specific (...) ways, creatingdifferent citizens’ experiences, “memories” of the war, and their respectivehopes and disappointments in regards to the relationship between peace andjustice in Bosnia. We suggest that analyses of the post-conflict developments inBosnia-Herzegovina must take into account what gives the narratives ofexclusion their power, and what are the objective political, social andeconomic constraints that continue to provide a fertile ground for theirwidespread support. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a close reading of Aristotle’s argument in the Nicomachean Ethics 3.5.1114a31–b25 and try to show that despite considerable interpretive difficulties, some clear structure can nevertheless be discerned. While Aristotle’s main concern in this passage is to refute the so-called asymmetry thesis – the thesis that virtue is voluntary, but vice is not – there is much more in it than just a dialectical encounter. Aristotle wants to respond to a more general objection, which has as (...) its target the voluntariness of both virtue and vice, and which is provoked by some of his ideas in EN 3.4 and 3.5. Further, I will try to show why Aristotle thinks that we are only co-causes of our dispositions. In my opinion, his reasons have nothing to do with compatibilist or incompatibilist considerations as they are commonly understood in modern philosophy. In particular, he does not want to argue that nature is aitios of our dispositions just as ourselves are. Rather, we are co-causes of our dispositions because we are causal origins of actions without which a certain good, which is the final cause of our actions and of our dispositions, cannot be achieved. Finally, I will try to show that Aristotle’s discussion implies that there is no more to the responsibility for dispositions than there is to the responsibility for actions. (shrink)
The article tries to show that Aristotle's refutation of causal determinism in Metaph. 6.3 is grounded mainly on two assumptions: a. that there must be a first member of any causal chain, and b. that the origin and the outcome of the chain have to be of equal status.
According to the objection of inactivity, the skeptics cannot live their skepticism, since any attempt to apply it to everyday life would result in total inactivity, while any action they would perform qua skeptics would be a sign that they abandoned their skepticism. In this paper I discuss the ancient Pyrrhonists’ response to the objection as is presented in the writings of Sextus Empiricus. Sextus argues that the Pyrrhonists are immune to the apraxia objection because it is based on the (...) misunderstanding of their position, that is, on the wrong assumption that they live in accordance with philosophical logos. To live in accordance with philosophical logos includes two things. First, it includes the idea that one should apply one’s philosophical tenets, concepts and recommendations to ordinary human life and use it as a practical guide. However, the only item that survives skeptical philosophy, appearance, is not used in this way: its role as criterion of action is different. Second, it includes the idea that ordinary human life can be, and should be, described in philosophical terms. However, the skeptics refuse to describe their actions in philosophical terms. More specifically, they refuse to describe their actions in terms of beliefs: from the Pyrrhonists’ point of view, the question “Do you have beliefs?” is misplaced, since any answer to it, affirmative or negative, is as credible as any other, since it is about something non-evident. (shrink)
SAŽETAK: Empiristi su tvrdili da se medicinsko znanje u cjelini može steći na temelju iskustva i da za njegovo formiranje i primjenu nije potrebna nikakva teorija. Ključni dio toga stava sastoji se u odbacivanju istraživanja uzroka bolesti. Medicinsko se znanje sastoji od teorema koji su generalizacije izvedene na temelju iskustva. Ranije analize generalizacija kojima se služi medicina, kao i rasprave o stručnom znanju općenito, pokazuju da je među grčkim liječnicima i filozofima bio prihvaćen stav da ispravne generalizacije koje nekoj djelatnosti (...) jamče status umijeća jesu eksplanatorne generalizacije – takve koje uključuju poznavanje uzroka. U članku istražujem na temelju čega empiristi mogu za neeksplanatorne generalizacije zahtijevati isti status i nastojim pokazati da je njihov argument u osnovi taj da statistički kriterij formulacije takvih generalizacija jamči njihovo podudaranje s događajima koje opisuju, što eksplanatornegeneralizacije ne mogu osigurati.The Empiricists argued that medical knowledge is a matter of experience, and that no theory is required either for its formation or application. The central part of their position was rejecting the possibility of the discovery of causal connections by the use of reason. The theorems that make up medical knowledge are empirical generalizations that do not include the specification of the cause. However, the Greek authors outside Empiricism, both medical and philosophical, made a strong case for the claim that a generalization must be explanatory to be scientific or artistic. In this paper I discuss how non-explanatory generalizations, being statements of frequency of joint occurrences which are statistically accurate, can be taken by the Empiricists as scientific. (shrink)
U ovom se radu pokušava pokazati da postoji određena vrsta relativizma koja je spojiva sa skepticizmom Seksta Empirika. Tvrdi se da se u PH I.217–219 Protagora ne shvaća kao aletički ili epistemički relativist, nego kao relativist u minimalnom smislu riječi, te da takvo stajalište nije protivno pironizmu kako ga Sekst karakterizira u PH I. Potom se pokazuje da nam prihvaćanje toga aspekta pironizma može pomoći da objasnimo neke inače problematične relativističke zaključke što ih nalazimo u Sekstovim spisima, naročito u M (...) XI.In this paper an attempt is made to show that there is a kind of relativism that can be seen as compatible with Sextus Empiricus’ scepticism. It is argued that in PH I.217–219, Protagoras is not treated as alethic or epistemic relativist, but as a relativist in a minimal sense of the word, and that such a position is not at odds with Sextus’ characterisation of Pyrrhonism in PH I. It is then shown that recognising this aspect of Pyrrhonism can help us explain the otherwise problematic relativistic conclusions in Sextus’ works, esp. in M XI. (shrink)