Plutarch against Colotes on the Cyrenaic Apprehension of πάθη

Eleni Kechagia

in Plutarch Against Colotes

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199597239
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731495 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Plutarch against Colotes on the Cyrenaic Apprehension of πάθη

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This chapter examines Plutarch's arguments in response to Colotes' claims against Cyrenaic epistemology. Colotes accused the Cyrenaics of making life impossible to live by claiming that they can only apprehend their own pathē, but not the external object causing them. Plutarch acknowledges that the Cyrenaic view eventually leads to extreme subjectivism, but goes on to show that the thoroughgoing empiricism of Epicurean epistemology can lead to subjectivist consequences too. Arguing that all impressions are true, which is what the Epicureans say, is ultimately not much different from arguing that none is: one's true impressions, which report only on themselves and on eidōla that may or may not be exactly the same as the external object they represent, do not lead one to firm knowledge of the external world.

Keywords: apprehension; Cyrenaics; eidōla; empiricism; Epicurean epistemology; impressions; pathē; subjectivism

Chapter.  17446 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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