Being and Knowledge: A Connoisseur's Guide to Republic V.476e ff

Apeiron 33 (2):87-108 (2000)
This paper offers an interpretation of Plato's argument in Republic V that lovers of sights and sounds can have only opinion, and philosophers alone have legitimate claims to knowledge. The argument depends on the idea that knowledge is "set over what is" while mere opinion is "set over what is and is not." I argue for an enhanced veridical interpretation of 'to be' in this passage, on which 'what is' means, roughly, "what is so." Given a distinction between what is so independently of how things seem and what is so partly in virtue of how things seem, I interpret the argument as an attempt to show that philosophers, who attend to what is so independently of how things seem, have knowledge, while the lovers of sights and sound have mere opinion because they attend not to how things are independently of how they seem, but only to how they are in virtue of how they seem.
Keywords Plato  Truth  Republic  Knowledge  Being
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