Classical Quarterly 40 (1):148-175 (1990)

Allan Silverman
Ohio State University
On the face of it, Plato's treatment of aisthesis is decidedly ambiguous. Sometimes he treats aisthesis as a faculty which, though distinct from all rational capacities, is nonetheless capable of forming judgments such as ‘This stick is bent’ or ‘The same thing is hard and soft’. In the Theaetetus, however, he appears to separate aisthesis from judgment, isolating the former from all prepositional, identificatory and recognitional capacities. The dilemma is easily expressed: Is perception a judgmental or cognitive capacity, or is it a non-judgmental, non-cognitive capacity? If the former, how does perception differ from belief? If the latter, is perception a faculty of the rational or irrational soul? Not surprisingly, the topic has received much scrutiny over the years. And equally unsurprisingly, the debate has turned as much on what it means for a capacity to be judgmental, cognitive, non-judgmental or non-cognitive, as on whether Plato says that it is of either kind.
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References found in this work BETA

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