Plato on Knowledge and Forms brings together a set of connected essays by Gail Fine, in her main area of research since the late 1970s: Plato's metaphysics and epistemology. She discusses central issues in Plato's metaphysics and epistemology, issues concerning the nature and extent of knowledge, and its relation to perception, sensibles, and forms; and issues concerning the nature of forms, such as whether they are universals or particulars, separate or immanent, and whether they are causes. A specially written introduction (...) draws together the themes of the volume, which will reward the attention of anyone interested in Plato or in ancient metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
Meno's Paradox from Socrates to Sextus Gail Fine. sense that they consider the issues it raises; and they argue, against its conclusion, that inquiry is possible. Like Plato and Aristotle, they also explain what makes inquiry possible; and they do ...
In most of the Socratic dialogues, Socrates professes to inquire into some virtue. At the same time, he professes not to know what the virtue in question is. How, then, can he inquire into it? Doesn't he need some knowledge to guide his inquiry? Socrates' disclaimer of knowledge seems to preclude Socratic inquiry. This difficulty must confront any reader of the Socratic dialogues; but one searches them in vain for any explicit statement of the problem or for any explicit solution (...) to it. The Meno, by contrast, both raises it explicitly and proposes a solution. (shrink)
The Peri ide^on is the only work in which Aristotle systematically sets out and criticizes arguments for the existence of Platonic forms. Gail Fine presents the first full-length treatment in English of this important but neglected work. She asks how, and how well, Aristotle understands Plato's theory of forms, and why and with what justification he favors an alternative metaphysical scheme. She examines the significance of the Peri ide^on for some central questions about Plato's theory of forms--whether, for example, there (...) are forms corresponding to every property or only to some, and if only to some, then to which ones; whether forms are universals, particulars or both; and whether they are meanings, properties or both. Fine also provides a general discussion of Plato's theory of forms, and of our evidence about the Peri ide^on and its date, scope, and aims. While she pays careful attention to the details of the text, she also relates it to contemporary philosophical concerns. The book will be valuable for anyone interested in metaphysics ancient or modern. (shrink)
M. J. Levett's elegant translation of Plato's _Theaetetus_, first published in 1928, is here revised by Myles Burnyeat to reflect contemporary standards of accuracy while retaining the style, imagery, and idiomatic speech for which the Levett translation is unparalleled. Bernard William’s concise introduction, aimed at undergraduate students, illuminates the powerful argument of this complex dialogue, and illustrates its connections to contemporary metaphysical and epistemological concerns.
Lately, several commentators have argued that there are significant differences between ancient and modern skepticism. For example, it has been argued that ancient skeptics disavow belief, whereas the moderns disavow only knowledge. It has also been argued that the scope of ancient skepticism is considerably less radical than that of modern skepticism: unlike the moderns, the ancients do not question whether they have bodies or whether there is an external world furnished with the sorts of objects we generally take there (...) to be. They do not suspend judgment as to whether, for example, honey exists, but only as to whether it is sweet. One explanation that has been given for the allegedly modest scope of ancient skepticism is its practical concern: ancient skepticism is a way of life, one that is supposed to secure the skeptic’s happiness. But, according to Myles Burnyeat, “[s]uch being his primary concern, he cannot doubt in a completely general way his ability to act in the world.” Modern skepticism, by contrast, is said to be “a strictly methodological affair,” with the result that, unlike ancient skeptics, modern ones can act in the face of radical skepticism. (shrink)
Spellman argues that Aristotle developed his views about substance in response to Plato’s theory of forms. In particular, she argues that Aristotelian substances are as much like Platonic forms as possible, minus the latter’s separation. Whether ASs are like PFs depends, of course, not only on what one takes ASs to be like, but also on what one takes PFs to be like; accordingly, Spellman provides accounts of both. She argues that ASs are what she calls specimens of natural kinds. (...) A specimen of a natural kind is not Socrates, but Socrates-qua-human-being: Socrates insofar as he is a human being. She argues that Socrates, and Socrates-qua-human-being are numerically the same, but not identical. They are not identical, because not everything true of Socrates is true of Socrates-qua-human-being. Socrates, for example, is snub-nosed, but Socrates-qua-human-being is not; for the latter has all and only the properties contained in the definition of human being. (shrink)
According to David Charles, in the Meno Socrates fleetingly distinguishes the signification from the essence question, but, in the end, he conflates them. Doing so, Charles thinks, both leads to Meno's paradox and prevents Socrates from answering it satisfactorily. I argue that Socrates doesn't conflate the two questions, and that his reply to Meno's paradox is more satisfactory than Charles allows.
Plato is the best known, and continues to be the most widely studied, of all the ancient Greek philosophers. The twenty-one commissioned articles in The Oxford Handbook of Plato provide in-depth and up-to-date discussions of a variety of topics and dialogues. The result is a useful state-of-the-art reference to the man many consider the most important philosophical thinker in history.
At the end of Republic 5, Plato distinguishes epistêmê from doxa, knowledge from belief. In Posterior Analytics 1.33, Aristotle provides his own distinction between epistêmê and doxa. I explore his way of distinguishing them and compare it with Plato's.
ABSTRACTAt least in some dialogues, Plato has been thought to hold the so-called Two Worlds Theory, according to which there can be belief but not knowledge about sensibles, and knowledge but not belief about forms. The Phaedo is one such dialogue. In this paper, I explore some key passages that might be thought to support TW, and ask whether they in fact do so. I also consider the related issue of whether the Phaedo argues that, if knowledge is possible at (...) all, we can have it only when discarnate. (shrink)
This volume in the Oxford Readings in Philosophy looks at central areas in Plato's philosophy: ethics, politics, religion, and the soul. It includes essays on virtue, knowledge, and happiness; justice and happiness; pleasure; Platonic love; feminism; the ideally just state, democracy and totalitarianism; and the nature of the soul and moral motivation.
This series aims to bring together important recent writing in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources. The editor of each volume contributes an introductory essay on the items chosen and on the questions with which they deal. A selective bibliography is appended as a guide to further reading.