Volume 1, April 2008
Wesley C. Dempster
The Foundations of Knowledge in Aristotle and Epicurus
A Comparative Analysis
As early proponents of foundationalism, Aristotle and Epicurus share the view that all knowledge rests on indubitable foundations. For Aristotle, these foundations are intellectual first principles. But for Epicurus, sense perception is basic. If certainty is the criterion of knowledge, then, despite their different approaches, neither philosopher succeeds in providing a mechanism sufficient to certify knowledge claims. For the foundationalist wishing to avoid nihilism, therefore, Aristotle’s and Epicurus’ failures are instructive.