Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: Vol. 38, No. 2, April 2000

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: Vol. 38, No. 2, April 2000

Article excerpt

Plato on Knowledge as a Power, NICHOLAS D. SMITH

In this paper, I argue that scholars have misinterpreted Plato's epistemology in Republic 5 by confusing Plato's discussion of cognitive powers with contemporary epistemology's focus on knowledge as a cognitive state. By sorting out more carefully how Plato's cognitive powers produce cognitive states, I argue that a clearer understanding of Plato's epistemology is possible. I go on to show how Plato avoids the notorious "two worlds" problem other scholars have found in his view, and conclude with a few remarks about how Plato's conception of knowledge compares most closely with contemporary causal-reliabilist conceptions of warrant.

A Most Methodical Lover? On Scotus's Arbitrary Creator, THOMAS WILLIAMS

Almost all interpreters of Scotus now agree in rejecting the charge that Scotus's God is free to act arbitrarily with respect to his creatures. They point out that Scotus describes God as ordinatissime volens ("a most methodical lover," as one translation has it) and as willing "most reasonably." They also appeal to Scotus's discussion of divine justice. On the basis of such passages, interpreters conclude that Scotus's God, although perfectly free, always acts both reasonably and justly, never arbitrarily. I examine these interpretations and the texts on which they are based, finding in every case that interpreters have greatly overstated the constraints that God's rationality and justice impose on his willing. …

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