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Headword: Ἐπιστήμη
Adler number: epsilon,2625
Translated headword: knowledge, science, understanding
Vetting Status: high
[Knowledge] and sense-perception, while belonging to different kinds, are not too far apart; they differ from each other in genus. For conceptualization is the genus of knowledge, but sense-perception is not conceptualization.[1] However, they are identical by analogy. For, as sense-perception is to the sense-perceptible things, so too knowledge is to the knowable things, and both of them have critical nature; at any rate some people already said that knowledge as well as sense-perception are the same thing because of their resemblance. But they differ from each other: for sense-perception is related to those things which can be otherwise, but knowledge does not take part in what can be otherwise. And knowledge is cognizant of the substance of each of the knowledgeable things, but sense-perception is not cognizant of the substance of any sensible things. And whereas knowledge is acquired in addition, sense-perception is acquired from the very beginning. And sense-perception is common to other living beings, but knowledge is peculiar to human beings or generally to rational beings.[2] Sense-perception is acquired by nature, knowledge by teaching. And in the case of sense-perception, the dispositional state promotes the activities (energeiai); for we see when we are able to see; but in the case of knowledge, we acquire such dispositional states through the activities (energeiai). For, engaging with letters (grammata), we become grammarians (grammatikoi). And if the sense-perception is destroyed, the living being is destroyed with it as well. But if the knowledge is destroyed, the living being is not destroyed.[3]
Greek Original:
Ἐπιστήμη καὶ αἴσθησις τῶν ἀνομογενῶν καὶ μὴ πολὺ διεστώτων: ἃ ἕτερα ἀλλήλων κατὰ γένος. τῆς μὲν γὰρ ἐπιστήμης ἡ ὑπόληψις γένος, ἡ δὲ αἴσθησις οὐχ ὑπόληψις. κατὰ ἀναλογίαν μέντοι ταὐτά ἐστιν: ὡς γὰρ αἴσθησις πρὸς αἰσθητά, οὕτως ἐπιστήμη πρὸς ἐπιστητά, καὶ ἀμφότερα κριτικά: ἤδη γοῦν τινες διὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα αὐτῶν ταὐτὸν ἐπιστήμην τε καὶ αἴσθησιν εἶπον εἶναι. διαφέρει δὲ ἀλλήλων: ἡ μὲν γὰρ αἴσθησις περὶ τὰ ἐνδεχόμενα ἄλλως ἔχειν, ἐπιστήμη δὲ οὐδενὸς ἐνδεχομένου. καὶ ἡ μὲν ἐπιστήμη ἑκάστου τῆς τῶν ἐπιστητῶν οὐσίας γνωστική, ἡ δὲ αἴσθησις οὐδενὸς τῶν αἰσθητῶν τῆς οὐσίας ἐστὶ γνωστική. καὶ ἡ μὲν ἐπιστήμη ἐπίκτητος, ἡ δὲ ἐξ ἀρχῆς. καὶ ἡ μὲν κοινὴ τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων, ἡ δὲ ἴδιος ἀνθρώπων ἢ ὅλως λογικῶν: καὶ ἡ μὲν φύσει, ἡ δὲ διδασκαλίᾳ. καὶ ἐπὶ μὲν τῆς αἰσθήσεως προάγει ἡ ἕξις τὰς ἐνεργείας: ὁρατικοὶ γὰρ ὄντες εἴδομεν: κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἐπιστήμας τὰς ἕξεις διὰ τῶν ἐνεργειῶν κτώμεθα: ἐνεργοῦντες γὰρ κατὰ τὰ γραμματικὰ γραμματικοὶ γινόμεθα. καὶ αἰσθήσεως μὲν ἀναιρουμένης συναναιρεῖται καὶ τὸ ζῷον: ἐπιστήμης δὲ ἀναιρουμένης οὐκ ἀναιρεῖται τὸ ζῷον.
The passage is a quotation (with slight differences) from Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 116.10-26 (ed. Wallies).
For the headword see also epsilon 2626, epsilon 2627.
[1] See Aristotle, de Anima 427b25ff. : "...within the field of judgement (ὑπόληψις ) itself, we find varieties: knowledge, opinion, understanding, and their opposites" (The Revised Oxford Translation).
[2] See Aristotle, Metaphysics 1.1.
[3] Alexander's account of this last sentence runs: "For it is impossible for the animal to exist without sense of touch (ἁφή ). But when the intellectual ability is destroyed, the one who possesses it, is not destroyed" (116.25-26 [ed. Wallies]). Although ἁφή means "sense of touch", "contact", the word should be understood in a wider sense. To be sure, an animal cannot lack sensations (or "sense-perceptions (αἰσθήσεις ) or be entirely without them.
Keywords: definition; medicine; philosophy; zoology
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 14 December 1999@09:18:19.
Vetted by:
Svetla Slaveva on 1 February 2000@12:23:44.
Svetla Slaveva on 18 February 2000@18:00:14.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 8 July 2003@08:37:20.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 19 October 2012@06:22:13.
Catharine Roth (tweak, betacode typos) on 25 October 2017@01:08:38.
Catharine Roth (more tweaks) on 25 October 2017@01:16:23.


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