Stockholm History of Philosophy Workshop: Máté Veres (University of Geneva)


Date: Friday 24 March 2023

Time: 13.15 – 15.00

Location: D700

Revelation, trust, and expertise in the Stoic theory of inferential apprehension


In his two compendia of arguments against theories of knowledge (PH 2, M 7-8), the Pyrrhonist Sceptic Sextus Empiricus targets an epistemological framework that recognizes two sources of apprehension. On this view, opposed by Sextus, evident matters are known directly, primarily through veridical sense-perception, while non-evident matters are known, if at all, through inference from signs and through demonstrative argument, i.e., proof. 

In this paper, I shall focus on the specifically Stoic view concerning inferential knowledge and argue for the following claims. On the Stoic view, proofs are revelatory: they create apprehension while also providing the explanatory connection between premisses and conclusion. In addition, Sextus provides support for the controversial claim that inferential apprehension involves non-sensory kataleptic impressions. At the same time, his report suggests that non-revelatory arguments proceeding through factive memory or through trust in authoritative testimony may in some sense qualify as probative. The distinction between these sorts of arguments prompts us to consider the role of expertise in the Stoic account.