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From Epicurus to EpictetusStudies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy$
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A. A. Long

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279128

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279128.001.0001

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Zeno's Epistemology and Plato's Theaetetus

Zeno's Epistemology and Plato's Theaetetus

(p.223) 11 Zeno's Epistemology and Plato's Theaetetus
From Epicurus to Epictetus

A. A. Long (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Stoic Zeno's most famous and most contested doctrine was thekatalepticor ‘cognitive’ impression (phantasia katalēptikē, hereafter KP). Arcesilaus attacked the KP by arguing that for any putative KP, an indistinguishable but false impressioncouldexist. This criticism is perfectly telling and intelligible without reference to any objections Arcesilaus may have had about Zeno's relationship to Plato or Socrates. It is proposed that this latter was probably a further stimulus for Arcesilaus, since he found Zeno recycling and meddling with material in Plato'sTheaetetus, and interpreting the dialogue's findings positively rather than sceptically. It is argued that Zeno, in formulating his doctrine of the KP, drew a good deal on theTheaetetus, putting some of its substantive suggestions to work for himself in quite un-Platonic ways. If there is force to this proposal, most details of which are novel, it should cast light not only on Zeno's encounter with Arcesilaus but also on some of the thinking that led up to the KP.

Keywords:   Stoicism, Arcesilaus, phantasia katalēptikē

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