The pandemic and the doxa

18 Aug

Mere opinion on topics as complex as the treatment of the pandemic exposed the world to mere opinion or “doxa” as the Greeks called what was opposed to episteme or organized and systematized knowledge.

The number of curious solutions in the fight against the virus is enormous: using lemon to ozone, the remedies that are effective for other diseases such as the use of chloroquine for malaria, uses of teas and hot water, certain fruits and vegetables, FioCruz that accompanies the Oxford vaccine development carried out a survey, which gives 73% of the news about coronavirus cures as false, mostly home recipes with no effect on the disease.

All life in Plato’s time (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC) happened around the polis, where there was already the citizen of the polis, the politician, but still dominated the sophists, who sought only arguments to favor power , without worrying about justice and truth.

In the book Plato’s Republic the term episteme, which previously supported the possibility of being a skill for something, now acquires the content of knowledge full of certainty, an evident knowledge that is linked to the reality of Eidos (the Idea for the ancients), with this episteme is true knowledge and totally opposed to doxa, reduced to simple opinion.

It is in the relationship between epistemology and ethics, that it is possible to consider the action from a doxa point of view, although it does not mean a basis for this type of ethical knowledge in Plato, as he will appear with Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), in particular in his book “Ética a Nicômaco”.

The problem of determining these concepts by linking them to ethical issues appears in the first dialogues until the Republic, which remains afterwards in the dialogues about the Laws, making it possible to address this issue in later dialogues.

Plato uses the concepts of nous (Republic VI 511d4) and noesis (Republic VI 511e1), the doxa is in the world of sensitive reality, while the episteme is in dianoetic knowledge (dianoia, it is the way of thinking lower than noesis) that its object is the noeta, but they are inferior to the dialectic (República VII 533d).

Aristotle will deny the existence of eide (pure thought) in Platonic terms, so his episteme will designate for him the knowledge of the necessary causes (it is developed in the first analytics) and consists of demonstration (apodeixis) and sensation (aisthesis) becomes if necessary for the episteme.

In order not to complicate too much, the Greeks are, it is in Metaphysics (E 1, 1025b-1026a.) That the term episteme will designate a systematic organization of rational knowledge, thus coming to point to theoretical knowledge, in opposition to practical knowledge and poietic (Nicomachean Ethics VI 3, 1139b14-36).

Whatever the form of systematic knowledge, science has its ways and to deny them is to put all of humanity to the test, neither home recipes nor vaccines without the conditions for testing are acceptable, caution is necessary, we have already paid a price too much for deaths in the pandemic, the cure is to eliminate the possibilities of reinfection and side effects, it is the dose of the poison that makes the medicine, but the reverse is also true.




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