Colloquium 2: An aristotelian distinction between two types of knowledge

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In the Prior and Posterior Analytics, Aristotle introduces a distinction between two ways in which one might know or have understanding of a proposition: universally and particularly. Roughly speaking, to know that P universally is to know a universal proposition Q from which P follows (regardless of whether one knows that P follows from Q), whereas to know that P particularly is to have knowledge of P through having knowledge that Q and having seen that P follows from Q. I argue that this distinction is deployed in Nicomachean Ethics VII 3, 1146b35-1147a10, and that in that passage, Aristotle does not describe a case of akrasia, but rather another case where one might act against one's knowledge, namely, by acting against one's universal knowledge that one should not do such-and-such.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-63
Number of pages35
JournalProceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics
  • Philosophy


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