Aristotle and Our Obligation to the Truth

Thursday Lecture Series

  • Free and open to the public

Rational cognition, for Aristotle, aims at the truth. This goes especially for beliefs, which seize on falsehoods in a way that scientific knowledge and expertise cannot. When Aristotle says that belief is not “up to us,” he does not mean (as he is usually taken) that we do not control our beliefs or cannot believe “at will.” Rather, the view is that beliefs have a standard of correctness that rational beings, in forming their beliefs, have an obligation to uphold. Those who default on this obligation should no longer be considered rational beings.