CANCELED - Dhananjay Jagannathan (Columbia University)


Location: 242 O'Shaughnessy Hall

Due to Notre Dame's decision to move all courses online until April 13, this event has been canceled.

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Dhananjay Jagannathan (Columbia University), will be giving a talk titled: "Aristotle's Practical Epistemology" on Friday, March 20, at 3:00 in O'Shaughnessy Hall, Room 242.  For more information on Dhananjay, please visit his website.


The thesis of Aristotle's Practical Epistemology (my book manuscript in progress) is that practical wisdom (phronēsis) in Aristotle’s ethical theory cannot properly be understood until we see it as practical understanding, a notion that combines being a form of intellectual mastery and being essentially exercised in practice. Behind this analysis of Aristotle’s position lie two core philosophical commitments that manifest themselves throughout his writings: (i) there is more to possessing practical wisdom than ordinary practical knowledge of what to do; and (ii) no one has a better claim to possessing practical wisdom except in virtue of being able to act well to a greater extent in particular situations. Importantly, there is no single genus ‘understanding’ of which practical wisdom is a species, distinguished by the domain to which it applies. Rather, understanding (the best kind of knowledge in a given domain) is an essentially teleological notion. It is because all ethical knowledge is for acting (praktikē) that practical understanding requires more than universal knowledge (knowledge of principles or causes). Equally, it is wrong to infer from the fact that practical wisdom is always exercised in particular circumstances that the knowledge of the practically wise person does not consist in part of such universal knowledge. I argue in APE that the core features Aristotle attributes to practical wisdom, including its political character, can be seen to flow from this unitary analysis.


Dhananjay Jagannathan