Aristotle on phainomenal cognition: Accessibility and epistemological limitation

Manuscrito 42 (4):439-468 (2019)
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According to Aristotle, phainomena or “appearances” provide the basis from which researches proceed. This shows that in spite of phainomena often corresponding to what falsely appears to be the case, there is genuine cognition through them. In this paper, I focus on two features of phainomenal cognition: accessibility and epistemological limitation. A phainomenal cognition of x is limited in the sense that there is always a stronger cognition of x to be attained. In this way, a research always aims at surpassing the phainomenal cognition of its subject matter. On the other hand, phainomenal cognition is always somehow accessible. Resorting to the relation between phainomena and the distinction between the more intelligible to us and the more intelligible by nature, I intend to put forward a relative understanding of both accessibility and epistemological limitation of phainomena.

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Raphael Zillig
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul


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