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Self-KnowledgeA History$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190226411

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.001.0001

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Self-Knowledge in Plato

Self-Knowledge in Plato

(p.25) Chapter one Self-Knowledge in Plato

Rachana Kamtekar

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the differences in content between two kinds of self-knowledge in Plato and describes the two kinds of inquiry directed at each kind of self-knowledge. Several early dialogues are concerned with knowledge of a person’s state (is he knowledgeable or ignorant? good or bad?), which is gained by that person inquiring into some particular subject matter. Several middle and late dialogues are concerned with knowledge of one’s capacities (what is one’s nature such that one is able to become good or bad, and knowledgeable or ignorant, viz., what are one’s capacities to inquire, desire, anger, and so on? are all of these equally essential to what one is?), determining the soul’s basic constituents and exploring their behavior in different conditions. Both kinds of inquiry treat the self that is to be known as capable of being quite different in reality from the way it appears to itself.

Keywords:   Plato, soul, reason, self-knowledge, self-knowledge of states, self-knowledge of capacities, Charmides, Alcibiades I

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