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Headword: Εἴδησις
Adler number: epsiloniota,35
Translated headword: knowledge
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] acquaintance/knowing.[1]
Knowledge [is] threefold.[2] For [I] science is called 'knowledge', as Plato says in the Phaedo: for to know is this, 'having acquired knowledge of something, to keep it and not to have lost it'.[3] Alternatively [II] [knowledge is] fuller acquaintance, whether without qualification or a more general [acquaintance] encompassing both of them, as Aristotle says in the Physics; since to know and to have a scientific understanding [are related] to all the sciences.[4] For by 'knowing' he means a full acquaintance, and by 'having a scientific knowledge' an accurate acquaintance [of something]. Alternatively [III] [the knowledge] which is said to be in common or in general in any acquaintance; the knowledge that [Aristotle] took in the Metaphysics.
Greek Original:
Εἴδησις: ἡ γνῶσις. ὅτι ἡ εἴδησις τριττή. ἡ γὰρ ἐπιστήμη λέγεται εἴδησις, ὥς φησιν ὁ Πλάτων ἐν τῷ Φαίδωνι: τὸ γὰρ εἰδέναι τοῦτό ἐστι, τὸ λαβόντα του ἐπιστήμην ἔχειν καὶ μὴ ἀποβεβλῆσθαι. ἢ ἡ ὁλοσχερεστέρα γνῶσις, ἢ ἁπλῶς ἢ κοινοτέρα, καὶ τοῦτο ἑκάτερον περιέχουσα, ὥς φησιν Ἀριστοτέλης ἐν τοῖς Φυσικοῖς: ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸ εἰδέναι καὶ τὸ ἐπίστασθαι περὶ πάσας τὰς ἐπιστήμας. διὰ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ εἰδέναι τὴν ὁλοσχερῆ γνῶσιν σημαίνει, διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἐπίστασθαι τὴν ἀκριβῆ. ἢ τὴν κοινῶς ἐπὶ πάσης γνώσεως λεγομένην: ἣν ἐν τοῖς Μετὰ τὰ φυσικὰ παρέλαβεν.
[1] Same glossing in Hesychius and elsewhere.
[2] This second and fuller paragraph, introduced by ὅτι , derives from John Philoponus, On Aristotle's de anima 22.5-13 Hayduck.
[3] In fact Plato never uses the headword εἴδησις , either in the Phaedo or anywhere else; however, the last sentence is an almost literal quotation of Phaedo 75D. The passage is part of the 'recollection argument' (Phaedo 74Aff.; a full discussion on the issue of knowledge and recollection can be seen in Irwin [1995] 132-143). Plato continues: 'do we not call the losing of knowledge "forgetting"?' (Grube's translation).
[4] Or 'scientific disciplines' (ἐπιστῆμαι ). The Suda is paraphrasing the opening lines of Aristotle's Physics, 184a10-12: 'in any subject which has principles, causes, and elements, scientific knowledge and understanding stems from a grasp of them' (Waterfield's translation). The point seems to be this: a scientific knowledge (or 'to know' in the strict sense) implies having the principles, causes and elements of that we are accounting for. In other words, you know something strictly if and only if you have the principles or causal accounts that explain the thing at issue. For a very clear and detailed commentary on this passage, see Charlton (1992) ad locum.
Irwin, T.H. Plato's Ethics (Oxford 1995)
Charlton, W. Aristotle: Physics, Books I and II (Oxford 1992)
Keywords: definition; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 17 May 2001@11:09:33.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 18 May 2001@03:37:14.
Patrick T. Rourke (Cosmetics, added hyperlink) on 23 May 2001@22:42:23.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 17 June 2002@08:38:36.
David Whitehead (another note; tweaks and cosmetics) on 23 November 2012@03:20:11.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 February 2015@23:13:03.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 31 March 2018@01:23:36.


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