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39.1.Hartenburg

Over the course of the Republic, Plato gives an account of knowledge that is important to the project of the Republic. However, readers have not always been able to parse the elements of Plato’s account of knowledge in the right way. This paper attempts to lay out the main contours of that account and disentangle it from a common misconception, which is that knowledge is akin to a kind of mental gaze, along the lines of sense perception. Given the parallels Plato draws between sight and knowledge, this misconception is in some sense understandable, but it is nonetheless mistaken. Thus, in what follows, I will explain why Plato thinks sense perception is deficient (compared to knowledge), what Plato’s account of knowledge is, and, briefly in conclusion, what sight and knowledge really have in common.

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