Tag Archives: Plato

Knowing God — Comparing Platonists and Advaita Vedantins

I’ve written before about the interesting similarities between Platonism and the Advaita Vedanta; here’s more grist for the mill. Andrew Louth writes about the Platonist conception of “knowing the Good”: “The Form of the Good is unknowable, and so, if … Continue reading

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Kant Corrects Plato

In the Theaetetus 195e-196-b Socrates confronts Theaetetus with an apparent paradox: surely it’s impossible, he has Theaetetus admit, for anyone to think that 11 is 12. But, he notes, it happens all the time that someone tries to add 5+7  and comes up with … Continue reading

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Hegel’s “Concrete Universal”

Robert Stern (in his Hegelian Metaphysics) argues that Hegel’s notion of the “concrete universal” (found mostly in Book III of his Science of Logic) provided a unique way forward for the perennial philosophical debate — going back to Plato’s Forms — over … Continue reading

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Spinoza, Platonist?

Spinoza notoriously argues that there is only (and could only be) one substance (Ethics 1p14), “God or nature” (1p29s) and everything else, including human persons, is just a “modification” of the attributes of God (2p10). But he has a very high bar for … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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