Aristotle on Knowledge of Nature and Modern Skepticism
By (author) Nathan R. Colaner
Publication date:05 November 2014
Length of book:210 pages
Confronting the scientific revolution’s dismissal of Aristotle’s physics and epistemology, Nathan R. Colaner revives this foundational philosopher’s work to expose within it the underpinnings of modern philosophers’ most common intuitions about knowledge. After Aristotle’s picture of reality had been judged obsolete by the physics of the scientific revolution, modern Western epistemologists fumbled along with doctrines that had little to do with everyday life. These included Descartes’ notion of the evil genius, Hume’s claim that we can’t know anything that we are not presently observing, and Kant’s rescue of knowledge in the context of idealism. In Aristotle on Knowledge of Nature and Modern Skepticism, Colaner articulates a notion of knowledge that is characteristically Aristotelian without being dependent on his metaphysics. Simultaneously, Colaner places Aristotle in dialogue with modern thinkers to create a bridge between classical and modern philosophy and reinstate Aristotle’s prominence in the discipline of epistemology.
Noting that “fresh ideas may be found in supposedly stale places,” Colaner argues that Aristotle’s epistemology, stripped from its historically situated cosmological frame, might be of more than historical significance, and thus deserves serious rethinking. He proceeds to defend that thesis throughout the book with remarkable dexterity and success.