Following Arabic interpretations of Aristotelian logic, medieval Hebrew logicians considered things apprehended directly by the senses or by the intellect to be known with certainty without any need for syllogisms. It was clear to them that complicated inferences made on the basis of intellectual apprehensions could be considered demonstrative syllogisms and so certain. What was less clear was how experiences—inferences based on direct sensory apprehension—could be used to form demonstrative syllogisms. Observation, particularly in medical contexts, might lead to various conclusions, but how could such conclusions be explained in Aristotelian logical terms?
My project aims to address various approaches to arguing from experience, with particular focus on the two thinkers most influential for Hebrew Aristotelianism, Moses Maimonides (d. 1204) and Averroes (d. 1198). Accordingly, it will follow the development of Hebrew concepts of experience in logic against various Arabic, Greek, and Latin linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.