Philosophy

Topic:  Plato argues there is a difference between sense-perception and knowledge.  He illustrates this difference in numerous places.  For instance, he discusses the inner workings of the cave (discussed in chapter 2 of Socrates to Sartre and chapter 3 of Demystified), as well as the division of various levels of knowledge in his divided line (see chapter 3 in Socrates to Sartre). 

This distinction should seem strange, however.  Most of us probably think that we know the world through our senses; we merely open our eyes or touch an object in front of us to confirm or deny what is real and what is not.  In line with this, people often say that ‘Seeing is believing’ and ‘Show me the money!’, two adages which suggest that unless we’re given direct sensory evidence for a belief we ought to disbelieve (or at least withhold judgement about) it. 

Drawing on your reading from the first week, write a paper in which you do the following:


Explain in your own words why Plato thinks sense-perception is not true knowledge, what Plato thinks true knowledge consists of, and whether you agree with his position or not.  (Whether you accept Plato’s claims or not, you should provide good reasons to support your belief.)  In doing so, make sure to relate your explanation to Plato’s discussion of these issues in the cave allegory and the divided line.

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