David Sedley

in The Midwife of Platonism

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780199267033
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601828 | DOI:

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Is about the third and final part of the dialogue, where it is suggested that knowledge is true judgement plus a logos (account). I argue that the Dream theory, and the futher ‘element’ theory that follows it, both represent the mistaken materialist view that knowledge can be arrived at from the bottom up, through the study of physics – a typically Presocratic assumption, in Plato’s eyes, and one that in his Timaeus he will be at pains to discount. Finally, I examine the concluding refutation, based on a circularity charge, and argue that in Plato’s eyes it must be fatal to all definitions of knowledge as a species of judgement or belief. Thus, I maintain that, at its close, the dialogue is already pointing towards Plato’s own radical separation of knowledge from belief, even if Socrates himself cannot see that quintessentially Platonist consequence.

Keywords: account; Dream; elements; knowledge; logos; materialism; physics; Presocratics; Timaeus

Chapter.  12853 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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