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Aristotle's Theory of Knowledge

Gregory Salmieri

Presented at: OCON 2010

Date: Jul 02, 2010

More than anyone else, it was Aristotle who taught mankind to think. It is for this reason that he is, as Ayn Rand once described him, “the philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders.” This course is an essentialized survey of Aristotle’s theory of knowledge. It relates it both to Objectivism and to the false alternative between rationalism and empiricism and brings out some Aristotelian insights that are useful for directing one’s own thinking.

Topics include: Aristotle’s theories of perception, concepts and the intermediate stage of “experience”; the distinctively human, causal perspective on the world enabled by concepts and epitomized by science; his distinctions between essence and accident, and between necessity and contingency; the methods of induction, deduction and definition, and the crucial concept of a “middle term”; and his view of hierarchy and the related distinction between dialectical and demonstrative arguments.


Parts: 3

Handout: none