Mi-Kyoung Lee

in Epistemology after Protagoras

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199262229
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602924 | DOI:

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This book identifies and examines three seminal ideas about perception and knowledge that were raised during the classical period. The first is the thesis, articulated by Protagoras, that everyone is a ‘measure’ of the truth, that everyone already possesses the capacities necessary for discovering how things really are. The second is the argument from conflicting appearances, according to which the fact that things present us with conflicting appearances,which indicates something philosophically significant about the nature of properties like sweetness and our perception of such properties. The third is the thesis that things are red or sweet if and only if they seem so to someone; this leads to the idea that certain properties do not belong to objects in themselves but are merely affections of the senses. Protagoras, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle made use of these ideas, or reacted to them, in various ways—setting the stage for developments in epistemology in the Hellenistic period.

Keywords: perception; knowledge; measure; conflicting appearances; sensible qualities; affections; skepticism

Chapter.  2150 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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