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Grant number: FA-251972-17

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Whitney Schwab
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD 21250-0001)

The Philosophical Origin of the Concept of Knowledge

A book-length study on the concept of knowledge in Stoic philosophy.

Interpreters of ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary theorists typically agree that Plato and Aristotle were both concerned to analyze knowledge. I think that this is a mistake. To be sure, Plato and Aristotle were interested in epistemology, and gave accounts of an important epistemic concept, which they called epistêmê. But, in laying out their accounts of epistêmê they were concerned to describe the optimal or ideal cognitive state human beings can achieve, which is a project that differs in important respects from that pursued by most modern-day epistemologists. Although the idea that Plato and Aristotle were not principally interested in knowledge in the modern sense has experienced some growth in popularity, little work has been done to determine when and how knowledge became a focus of philosophical concern. The central claim of "The Origin of the Concept of Knowledge" is that this occurred in the work of the Stoics and, in particular, in their discussions of katalêpsis.

Project fields:
Epistemology; History of Philosophy; Intellectual History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018