Aristotle’s Empiricist Theory of Doxastic Knowledge

In: Phronesis
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  • 1 Department of Philosophy, 1879 Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1006, USA
  • 2 Department of Philosophy, 1879 Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1006, USA

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Abstract

Aristotle takes practical wisdom and arts or crafts to be forms of knowledge which, we argue, can usefully be thought of as ‘empiricist’. This empiricism has two key features: knowledge does not rest on grasping unobservable natures or essences; and knowledge does not rest on grasping logical relations that hold among propositions. Instead, knowledge rests on observation, memory, experience and everyday uses of reason. While Aristotle’s conception of theoretical knowledge does require grasping unobservable essences and logical relations that hold among suitable propositions, his conception of practical and productive knowledge avoids such requirements and is consistent with empiricism.

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