Knowing in Aristotle part 1: Epistēmē, Nous, and non‐rational cognitive states

Philosophy Compass:e12801 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
In this first part of a 2-part survey of Aristotle's epistemology, I present an overview of the features Aristotle attributes to gnōsis (cognition or knowledge), a term Aristotle applies to true cognitive states, whether rational or non-rational. Gnōsis is being in contact with reality. This, for Aristotle, happens when the soul takes on the form of the object known, which is what makes gnōsis factive. I present Aristotle’s account of non‐rational cognitive states, discussing perception and experience (empeiria) and the role they play in acquiring knowledge. I then cover Aristotle's understanding of belief (hupolēpsis) and opinion (doxa) and lay out why he thinks they cannot be excellences. I conclude with an overview of two of the most important and foundational excellences of reason, nous (comprehension or understanding) and epistēmē (scientific knowledge).
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Archival date: 2021-11-18
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