Knowledge – Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, Bacon, Locke YouTube Lecture Handouts Part 1

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What is Knowledge? Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, Bacon, Locke | Philosophy | NET

Title: Knowledge – Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, Bacon, Locke


Knowledge is Perception is the Theory of Protagoras

Knowledge is Perception is the theory of Protagoras and the Sophists.


Method of Dialogue Socrates

Method of Dialogue


Plato Knowledge
  • Dialectic method
  • Knowledge is not perception
  • Knowledge is not Opinion or Belief
  • Knowledge is founded on reason, reason is faculty of concepts
  • Dialectic: art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.
  • Plato claims that perception is not knowledge, nor opinion or belief is knowledge. Even true belief is not knowledge.
  • Perception: Perception depends much on the distance, position, light etc. of the perceiver. A table seems to be rectangular from a particular point of view, and square from another point of view. There is no common world, or common object of all perceivers. Thus, knowledge becomes subjective.
  • Opinion: Suppose I believe that it will rain tomorrow. Tomorrow it rains. But still my belief is not knowledge, because I based my belief on intuition or instinct, not on reason — Right opinion or belief may often be a blind guess. To possess knowledge, one must not only know that a thing is so, but why it is so. One must know the reasons

Plato՚s 4 Levels of Knowledge

4 Levels of Knowledge

The first two levels make the level of opinion or belief (perception) . The second two levels are super-sensible levels of reason.

  • Lowest grade of knowledge is connected with our imagination. It deals with illusion and dream images of particular things and beings, e. g. , the so-called knowledge of the image or copy of particular ‘man’ . This level of knowledge is not at all ‘knowledge’ in the true sense.
  • Next higher level of knowledge consists in perceptual belief and opinion, e. g. , knowledge of a particular man. This we get through perception. Individual man is the copy of the Idea ‘man’ . Here the object of knowledge is copy of concepts.
  • Next higher level of knowledge consists in knowledge of numbers and figures as is found in Mathematics and Geometry. Here the knowing ability is understanding or intellect. Which is inferior to reason according to Plato? This knowledge, though rational, is based on some self-evident principles that intellect cannot justify categorically but takes them for granted hypothetically.
  • Highest level of knowledge is based on Pure Reason. Here we have knowledge of the Ideas or Forms e. g. , the knowledge of ‘man’ in general, or the Idea or Form ‘Man’ . This knowledge is infallible, and is of Reality.

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