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PHL lecture, oct. 13.doc

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Peter King

Republic Book VI  What are Platonic Forms? o Plato tells us that  A concrete object shares in a Form  Distinct concrete objects may share in the same Form  A Form only “appears” in association with concrete things  It is by sharing in a Form that a concrete object is what it is, at least in some respect.  Beautiful things are beautiful because each shares in the Form of Beauty  Parallel case: concrete physical “circles” (which are in fact imperfect), as related to geometrical entities (which are perfect)  In part, then, we can see Plato is attempting to rationalize moral knowledge along the lines of mathematical knowledge  Plato addresses his argument for the Forms specifically to the lovers of sights and sounds, who claim that what they behold is what it is e.g. beautiful (476E-480A): o If Jones has knowledge, then Jones knows something (476 E) o If Jones knows something, then Jones knows something which is (477A) o “What fully is, is knowable, and what in no way, is unknowable.” (477A) o Knowledge is directed to what is o Ignorance is directed to what is not o Capacities are that by which the possessor of the capacity is able to do something (477C) o Capacities are the same when they are related to the same object and achieve the same results (477D) o Capacities are different when they are related to different objects and produce different results o Knowledge is a capacity (477 E) o Knowledge and opinion are different capacities  Proof: knowledge is infallible and opinion is fallible  Hence they “differ in their results” and so are different capacities  NOTE: in virtue Plato can draw the conclusion that knowledge and opinion have different objects o Therefore, knowledge and opinion are directed toward different objects (478A) o Opinion is not the same as ignorance (Assumption) o Hence opinion is “intermediate” between knowledge and ignorance (478C-D) o Hence if there are objects of opinion, they must be intermediate between what is and what is not, i.e. the objects of opinion both are and are not (478D-E) o The sights and sounds to which the lover of spectacles attends both are and are not  Proof:  Those things identified as e.g. just are also unjust in some circumstances  All these things partake of opposite characterizations (479 A-D) o Therefore, such sights and sounds are the objects of opinion, and not of knowledge (479D-E)
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