Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Week 6 MT17

Ancient Philosophy

The School of Athens

Speaker: Benjamin Morison (Princeton)

Title: 'The Definition of Noûs in Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics’


Aristotle’s vision of a theoretical science, as laid out in Posterior Analytics, requires the existence of two types of knowledge or understanding (episteme): demonstrative understanding (the distinctive grasp that the expert in a domain has of the theorems of that domain), and non-demonstrative understanding (the distinctive grasp that the expert has of the axioms or first principles of that domain). However, his definition of episteme seems only to cover demonstrative understanding. I canvas, and reject, the solution to this puzzle offered recently by David Bronstein, namely that the definition should in fact be understood to cover both. I propose a different definition of non-demonstrative understanding and explore the relation between it and noûs, which might, in fact, be identity.

Convenors: Dr Karen Margrethe Nielsen, Prof Ursula Coope, and Dr Luca Castagnoli

Webpage: Workshop in Ancient Philosophy