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  1. The Meaning of ΝΟΥΣ in the Posterior Analytics.James H. Lesher - 1973 - Phronesis 18 (1):44 - 68.
    In his Posterior Analytics Aristotle confronted a problem that threatened his vision of scientific knowledge as an axiomatic system: if scientific knowledge is demonstrative in character, and if the axioms of a science cannot themselves be demonstrated, then the most basic of all scientific principles will remain unknown. In the famous concluding chapter of this work (II 19), he claimed to solve this problem by distinguishing two kinds of knowledge: we cannot have epistêmê of the first principles, but we can (...)
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  2. Aristotle on Form, Substance, and Universals: A Dilemma.James H. Lesher - 1971 - Phronesis 16 (1):169-178.
    In book Zeta of the Metaphysics and elsewhere Aristotle appears to commit himself to the following propositions: (1) No universal can be substance; (2) Form is a universal; and (3) Form is that which is most truly substance. These propositions appear to constitute an inconsistent triad lying at the heart of Aristotle’s ontology. A number of attempts have been made to rescue Aristotle from the charge of inconsistency. Some have claimed that Aristotle did not subscribe to (1), but only to (...)
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  3. Parmenides' critique of thinking. The Poludêris Elenchos of Fragment 7.James H. Lesher - 1984 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 2:1-30.
    Parmenides may fairly be said to have undertaken two parallel efforts: first, to offer a persuasive account of the nature of ‘what-is’ (to eon); and second, to establish ‘it is’ as the only true and trustworthy way of speaking and thinking about what-is. Fragment 7.3-6 plays a crucial role in this latter effort when Parmenides’ goddess directs the youth to put aside all information obtained through sense perception and instead ‘judge by reason the poludêris elenchos spoken by me.’ Although the (...)
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  4. Xenophanes' scepticism.James H. Lesher - 1978 - Phronesis 23 (1):1-21.
    Xenophanes of Colophon (fl. 530 BC) is widely regarded as the first skeptic in the history of Western philosophy, but the character of his skepticism as expressed in his fragment B 34 has long been a matter of debate. After reviewing the interpretations of B 34 defended by Hermann Fränkel, Bruno Snell, and Sir Karl Popper, I argue that B 34 is best understood in connection with a traditional view of the sources and limits of human understanding. If we hold (...)
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  5. Danto on knowledge as a relation.James H. Lesher - 1970 - Analysis 30 (4):132-134.
    Arthur Danto claims that knowing that S is not a property of some individual knower M but a relation between M and some object O in the world, where O is what makes S true. For if knowledge were a property of M it would be possible to determine whether M knew simply by examining M, which is typically not the case (i.e. unless S happens to be about M). I argue that Danto errs in: (1) claiming that we can (...)
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    Lehrer's Sceptical Hypothesis.James H. Lesher - 1972 - Philosophical Forum 4 (2):299.
    Keith Lehrer has put forward an argument for skepticism which trades on the possibility that a group of creatures in another galaxy (Googols) may be rendering our beliefs about reality largely false (this is ‘Lehrer’s Skeptical Hypothesis’). Since there are no arguments against the Lehrer-Googol hypothesis, it cannot be rejected as unjustified. But since we can be completely justified in believing that p only when hypotheses which conflict with our belief are unjustified, we cannot be completely justified in believing that (...)
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  7. Aristotle’s Considered View of the Path to Knowledge.James H. Lesher - 2012 - In El espíritu y la letra: un homenaje a Alfonso Gomez-Lobo. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Colihue. pp. 127-145.
    I argue that these inconsistencies in wording and practice reflect the existence of two distinct Aristotelian views of inquiry, one peculiar to the Posterior Analytics and the other put forward in the Physics and practiced in the Physics and in other treatises. Although the two views overlap to some degree (e.g. both regard a rudimentary understanding of the subject as an essential first stage), the view of the syllogism as the workhorse of scientific investigation and the related view of inquiry (...)
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  8. Theistic ethics and the "euthyphro".James H. Lesher - 1975 - Apeiron 9 (2):24 - 30.
    A. E. Taylor states the widely held view that Plato’s Euthyphro posed a question which figured prominently in later ethical controversies: “It amounts to asking whether acts of piety, or more generally virtuous acts, derive their character of being right from the mere fact of being commanded or are commanded because they are antecedently intrinsically right.” I argue against this characterization of the Euthyphro. The argument Socrates deploys against Euthyphro’s third and most serious definition of holiness or piety (to hosion) (...)
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  9. Genetic explanations of religious belief.James H. Lesher - 1975 - Philosophical Studies 27 (5):317 - 328.
    Genetic explanations of religious belief, such as Freud’s analysis of theism as ‘a neurotic relic’, pose a problem for theists: how far do such explanations establish the irrationality of religious belief? I argue that genetic analyses of belief suffer from a number of limitations. Showing that some reason-irrelevant factor or factors were sufficient to produce conviction on some occasion would not establish that they were necessary in every case of religious conviction. Showing that reason-irrelevant factors were both necessary and sufficient (...)
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