Jesse, list,

"Epistemology" comes from "episte^me^" which is the Greek word translated as 
"science" which Aristotle said was about "universals" (by which, if I recall 
rightly, he meant that which could be true of more than one thing) and was 
necessary rather than contingent.
[Greek epist^m^, knowledge (from epistasthai, epist-, to understand  : epi-, 
epi- + histasthai, middle voice of histanai, to place, determine; see st- in 
Indo-European Roots) + -logy.]

Unfortunately, the Greek dictionaries at Perseus Tufts do not include 

However, pistis, according to this which I found at , comes from "peitho" 
or, as one has to spell it at Perseus-Tufts, "peitho^"

I don't know, I can't say whether episteme and pistis are related.

I didn't know that _pistis_ was the word used for "true belief." Maybe it's in 
one of the subentries at Perseus-Tufts and I've missed it. I don't mean to cast 
doubt on the idea. I mean that this may be a technical philosophical meaning.

The difference between theoretical and practical reasoning does have something 
to do with what we've been talking about, but I think that the distinction 
between deductive and non-deductive kinds of reasoning is more pertinent. The 
distinctions are akin somehow, yet are not the same distinction.

Why would the distinctions be akin if they're not the same? The objects or 
objectives which the "special" sciences seek are universals in the sense of 
mathematical relationships, etc., BUT their subject matter is concrete 
singulars in their kinds, collectivities, etc., singulars among ever more 
singulars. Thus the (special) sciences have a _subject-matter_ which is like 
the _object(ive)s_ of the practical (in the everyday sense as opposed to the 
Kantian). Now, the object(ive) tends to be singular, the custom-tailored, in 
personal everyday movement, action, decision-making, and in governing arts, 
even if their subject matters vary in typical scope as much (which seems hard 
to believe) as those of theoretical research do. This is not the realm of 
deducing truths about mathematicals. In productive arts & sciences, the usual 
object(ive) is neither the singular nor the mathematically universal, but that 
scope "in between" those two extremes -- a kind of non-universal general, emb!
 odied in productivity's methods as applied-not-just-once but repeatably, 
reliably, expansively, in that expansion from sample toward totality which 
marks statistical theory and other ampliatively inductive fields, including 
(I'd argue) philosophy. (Difference between sample and singular: a singular is 
not usually an adequate sample of anything.) I resist the temptation to go much 
further in these questions of scopes and of kinds of inference, a temptation 
arising from the fact that it would get me into why I'm interested in Tegmark's 
Four-Level universe picture. Anyway, it seems to me that a pattern of 
coincidings of typical scope between the subject matters of some things and the 
objectives of other things are the reason for the kinship yet difference 
between the theoretical-practical distinction and the deductive-nondeductive 

In Kant, the word "practical" is distinguished from the word "pragmatic" in 

The Century Dictionary  
(one has to download and install a reader)
Century Dictionary Supplement, Vol. XII, p. 1050, pps to prairie-hare (DjVu), 
(DjVu Highlighted), (Java), (JPEG)
PRAGMATIC, a. 3. A term used (by Kant) to denote rules of action (otherwise 
denominated 'counsels of prudence') which have to do with the attainment of 
happiness. As used by him, it is antithetic to the term 'practical,' which 
refers to principles of action (otherwise called 'categorical imperatives') 
which have to do with the attainment of virtue.

An example of Kantian practical reason is that, in order for it to make sense 
to do good and not do evil, it must be that the world is, in fact, such as to 
reward the doing of good and punish the doing of evil, and the only way to find 
such a "harmony" is to suppose that one is punished or rewarded in an eternal 
long run. Or something like that.

It does seem like there could be an element of Kantian practicality or an 
element of everyday practicality, or both, which would tend to help motivate 
the belief in G*, but I tend to think that it could be said even more 
generally, that ampliative inductive reasoning on the basis of experience in 
general could suffice for belief in G*, even across variations in motivation. 
Since this kind of reasoning happens statistical theory, etc., and (I would 
argue) in philosophy, and is applied in physical, chemical, and biological 
sciences and in social and human studies (be they called "sciences" or not), I 
see no reason to confine one's attention to its use for practical ends (be it 
"practical" in the everyday sense or in the Kantian sense). We can be more 
general about it. Such reasoning might even suffice for a kind of "recognition" 
of G*'s truth as long as we don't use the words "recognize" or "know" in too 
absolute a sense but instead in a sense of "reasonably well corroborated/!
  confirmed" for whatever theoretical or practical purposes may be involved. 
Where it becomes an issue, then it ought to be shown very clearly, and the 
importance not minimized, that G* cannot be proven deductively like G.

Best, Ben Udell

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, January 06, 2006 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: Paper+Exercises+Naming Issue

Benjamin Udell wrote:

>Bruno, list,
>The most that I can say about responding so lengthily to Bruno's lengthy 
>response to my lengthy comment, is that I've kept it in one post!
>[Ben]>> Bruno, list,
> >> I've looked over Bruno's recent replies and, though I don't understand 
>much about Bruno's work or modal logic, etc., I wish to attempt a few 
>general remarks.
> >> If Bruno is, as he puts it, "[searching for] a general name for a field 
>which studies fundamental type of faith, hope, fear, bets, etc.," then 
>there are set of Ancient Greek words like _pistis_ (faith, belief, 
>confidence), _pistos_ (confident, faithful), _pisteuticos_ (deserving of 
>faith or belief), etc. So he could call it Pistics (sounds awful in 
>English, though, because of that to which it sound similar) or Pisteutics, 
>etc. Or maybe there's some form of this word with a prefix which would make 
>it sound less like, well, um, "piss" plus a suffix, and, having considered 
>it, I do think that that's an issue. Ancient Greek is too unfamiliar to me, 
>otherwise I'd try to come up with such a word myself, keeping in mind the 
>next paragraph:
>[Bruno:]> Well thanks. Pistology perhaps? I must say I like to use already 
>existing terms, but I am still trying to understand why people seems so 
>negative for the term "theology" ... I do think, perhaps unmodestly, that 
>my approach belongs to the Classical Platonic Theology from Pythagoras to 
>Proclus. (Of course Pythagoras comes before Plato but can be considered as 
>its one of its main important precursor.)
>Pistology or some longer word. Actually I'm surprised that a word like this 
>doesn't already exist. Searching on the 'Net, I find that the World 
>Congress of Faiths has coined a word "fideology." (I'm not religious and 
>I've never heard of them.) . 
>I'll bet they entertained the coinage "pistology" and rejected it in favor 
>of "fideology" even though "fideology" is a Latin-Greek combo. Evidence 
>that "pistology" might be better off with some euphonious prefix.

Is "pistis" related to "episteme", the greek word for knowledge which is the 
root of "Epistemology"? Epistemology is the philosophical study of beliefs 
and whether they are justified--see . Would "machine epistemology" 
work for Bruno?

I found a page which seems to say the difference between "pistis" and 
"episteme" has something to do with practical vs. theoretical knowledge:

"Ethics and politics are fields of practical philosophy. A person who 
possesses knowledge in these fields is not someone who can construct proofs, 
but rather someone who deliberates well about particular cases -- i.e., 
someone whose deliberation leads to happy results. What can philosophy 
contribute to a development of the capacity to deliberate well?

          "While philosophy is master in the cognitive realm of pure theory, 
philosophy has a lesser contribution to make in the fields of ethics and 
politics. In these fields, experience and skills in deliberation are 
paramount. Philosophy can provide a vocabulary and a moral grammar that can 
make deliberation more effective. But knowledge in these fields is 
ultimately of the particular case and, of the particular case, there can be 
no certain, final, or complete knowledge.

          "The field of practical knowledge is a field in which pistis or 
true belief, as opposed to episteme, constitutes the maximum goal. At the 
conclusion of deliberation, i.e., at the moment of ethical and political 
decision, it is impossible to know with certainty whether the particular 
case has been judged rightly. Only time can tell that and never with 
finality. The final state reached in deliberation is thus a state of being 
persuaded. Ethical and political deliberation thus calls into play the 
cognitive categories proper to rhetoric.


"Thus, Aristotelian political philosophy, in identifying itself strictly as 
a form of practical reflection as opposed to theoretical cognition, i.e., as 
belonging to the cognitive domain of pistis as opposed to episteme, viewed 
itself more or less self-consciously as a component of what I would call 
Greek republican civic culture."

This page says something similar, that the distinction is about convincing 
others using rhetoric vs. justifying them in some absolute theoretical 

"Thus, in 1985, although he himself didn't describe it in these terms (and, 
for that matter, no doubt still wouldn't), Rawls, in effect, reinterpreted 
his philosophical project as a project belonging to the cognitive realm of 
rhetoric. Traditionally, rhetorical reason defined its cognitive realm as 
the realm of pistis or belief, as opposed to the cognitive realm claimed by 
philosophy, the realm of episteme or science. Belief, or pistis, is the 
state of being persuaded. To the extent that any discourse aims at producing 
belief, i.e., the uncoerced adherence of its intended audience, to that 
extent it belongs to the cognitive domain of rhetoric. This is the way it 
seems that Rawls, since 1985, has conceived of his inquiry into the 
principles of justice. His aim is no longer (if it ever was) to arrive at a 
timelessly true statement of the universal principles of social justice, but 
rather to offer a statement of the principles of justice that might win the 
uncoerced adherence of the reasonable citizens of a modern constitutional 
democracy. The principles of justice produced by Rawls's inquiry are to be 
judged cognitively not by the standard traditionally identified with 
philosophy, i.e., the standard of timeless truth, but rather by the standard 
traditionally identified with rhetoric, i.e., the standard consisting in the 
successful establishment of a body of uncoerced shared belief."


Reply via email to