Category Archives: Plato

Plato’s Dramatological Dialectics

Catherine Zuckert’s Plato’s Philosophers defends an astonishingly bold thesis: according to her, the attempt, since the nineteenth century, to order Plato’s dialogues in chronological order of composition, and so to interpret them developmentally, is futile and misleading. Futile, because the dating on … Continue reading

Posted in Catherine Zuckert, Ethics, Leibniz, Metaphysics, Plato, Plato's Philosophers, Spinoza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perception, Knowledge, and Being

The discussion in the Theaetetus really takes off when Theaetetus tries out his first definition of knowledge, suggesting that it’s “nothing other than perception” (οὐκ ἄλλο τί ἐστιν ἐπιστήμη ἢ αἴσθησις) (151e). Socrates immediately equates this definition with the sophist Protagoras’s claim that “Man … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, George Berkeley, Metaphysics, Plato, Relativism, Theaetetus | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intension vs. Extension in the “Theatetus”

Plato’s Theaetetus really gets going when Socrates asks Theatetus to define knowledge (145e), and Theaetetus answers with a list: whatever you can learn from Theodorus (Theaetetus’s teacher), or (perhaps implicitly) another expert: disciplines such as geometry, and crafts such as cobbling. Socrates then … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Inference, Plato, Robert Brandom, Theaetetus | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ramanuja Against Shankara’s Intellectualism

In his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, Shankara (8th-9th c.) insists, “That the knowledge of Brahman refers to something which is not a thing to be done, and therefore is not concerned either with the pursuit or the avoidance of any … Continue reading

Posted in Aristotle, Epistemology, Hinduism, Plato, Ramanuja, Shankara, Thomas Aquinas, Virtue | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought’s Traction

Consider these quotations from three philosophers you probably aren’t inclined to group together: The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space. It … Continue reading

Posted in Anselm, Empiricism, Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Wittgenstein | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shankara and the Meno Thesis

“Knowledge although springing up through the mediation of learning and so on, springs up only in so far as learning destroys the obstacles in the way of knowledge.” That could easily be a quotation from Plato’s Meno, where Socrates argues that … Continue reading

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Berkeley and Aquinas on Matter and Epistemological Realism

Does matter exist? Bishop Berkeley famously said, No, a thesis which has earned him a reputation as a brilliant crank (emphasis on “crank”). Here’s his argument: Wood, stones, fire, water, flesh, iron, and the like things, which I name and … Continue reading

Posted in Aristotle, Being and beings, Descartes, Epistemology, George Berkeley, Idealism, John Locke, John O'Callaghan, Matter, Metaphysics, Mind and World, Plato, Thomas Aquinas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment