The work of Aristotle (384-322 BC) is considered to be one of the great achievements of the ancient world, and is a foundation of both Western and Middle Eastern philosophy and science. Although Aristotle left significant material on almost all branches of learning, what has survived is a somewhat disorganized collection of notes and lectures. Moreover, the centuries of interpretation across various epochs and cultures tend to cloud our understanding of him. Thomas Kiefer breaks through this cloud of interpretation and provides an organized account of one key part of Aristotle's philosophy, namely his theory of knowledge. This theory concerns what is knowledge, what we can know, and how we can do so. Kiefer's book is the first work that takes this theory as its sole focus and reconstructs it systematically. Kiefer's work throughout provides many new interpretations of key parts of Aristotle's philosophy, including an unnoticed -but crucial-distinction between knowledge in general and knowledge for us, the differences between his semantic and psychological requirements for knowledge, and 'nous', which is perhaps the most obscure notion in Aristotle's work.
He also concludes with a summary of Aristotle's theory in the terms and style of contemporary epistemology. Kiefer's work should be of interest to anyone involved in the history of philosophy or contemporary epistemology.
Thomas Kiefer teaches Philosophy at Nebraska Wesleyan University and Southeast Community College, Lincoln. He has previously published a number of articles on Ancient Philosophy and is currently preparing a new translation of Plato's Phaedo for the forthcoming An Annotated Plato Reader, ed. Bowe.
Introduction; Section I: The Definition and Subject Matter of Knowledge; 1. Knowledge as a Kind of Linguistically Expressed Thought; 2. Knowledge as Hexis; 3. Knowledge for Us versus Knowledge by Itself; 4. Universality, Necessity and Unconditionality; Section II: The Semantic Requirements of Knowledge for Us; 5. Having a Logos; 6. Primary Knowledge; 7. Derivative Knowledge; 8. Ignorance; 9. 'Kath'hauto', 'Beneath Every', and 'For the Most Part'; Section III: The Psychological Requirements of Knowledge for Us; 10. Recognition; 11. Confidence and the Unthinkability of Mistake; Section IV: The Possibility of Knowledge; 12. Foundations 1: What Makes Primary Knowledge Possible for Us; 13. Foundations 2: Nous as the Elements of Primary Knowledge; 14. Nous and Knowledge by Itself; Section V: Aristotle's Theory Outlined in Modern Form; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.