Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 5, MT20) Primary

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics all developed accounts of an epistemic achievement that they called "epistêmê" and contrasted with an epistemic state they called "doxa." They also all agreed that doxa is unstable and epistêmê is maximally stable. Plato and Aristotle, however, thought that securing the instability of doxa and stability of epistêmê requires positing categorially distinct objects for them (for Plato, perceptibles and intelligibles; for Aristotle, contingent matters and necessary matters). In fact, in the Timaeus, the character Timaeus claims that the only way to uphold a distinction between true doxa and epistêmê (there called "nous") is by positing such categorially distinct objects. In this paper, I argue that we can understand the central elements of Stoic epistemology as responding to this "Timaean challenge." The Stoics maintain a distinction between true doxa and epistêmê that secures the instability of the former and the stability of the latter without positing categorially distinct objects for them. I argue that (they think) they are able to do so by adopting and developing certain Aristotelian conceptual resources surrounding belief and belief formation.


The Seminar will take place via Microsoft Teams. By clicking this link you will be redirected to a page in which you will be prompted to sign in with your Oxford SSO.

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Luca Castagnoli