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date: 06 December 2023

Plato, knowledge and its objectslocked

Plato, knowledge and its objectslocked

  • Julia Annas


Plato’s interest in knowledge takes its start from Socrates’s concern to discover experts who understand their subject matter and can explain it. Throughout the dialogues it is developed in a variety of ways. The best known include: the idea in the Meno that understanding cannot be explained by our experience and so must be “recollected” by our soul before embodiment; the idea, developed in the Phaedo and Republic, that knowledge is a structured hierarchical whole, depending on the good; and the arguments about knowledge in these dialogues which lead to debates as to whether Plato does, or does not, hold that knowledge is only of Forms while our encounters with the world of our experience can produce only belief (the so-called two-worlds view).


  • Philosophy

Updated in this version

Article revised to reflect current scholarship.

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