Embodied Knowledge and Platonic Epistemology

By Dwayne Moore.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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A number of texts within the Platonic corpus suggest that knowledge may not be possible while the soul is embodied (Phaedrus 274a; Republic 531c; Timaeus 29c). Not surprisingly, some scholars have concluded that Plato does not believe souls can have knowledge while enmattered (Gerson, 2003, p. 61-62). Yet there are also a number of texts which suggest that knowledge is possible while inhabiting the sensible world (Phaedrus 248a; Republic 518c; 443b; Timaeus 51d; Meno 85c). Indeed, if embodied knowledge were impossible, there would be little reason to assume that Plato’s teachings, which he disseminates while embodied, are true. Nor would there be any reason for Plato to be so adamantly opposed to Protagoras and the other relativists, for he would agree with them on this point at least. In this paper I argue that embodied knowledge is possible within a Platonic framework, and this is demonstrated by a careful analysis of the Orphic roots of the theory of the Forms.

Keywords: Plato, Epistemology, Knowledge, Forms, Orphism

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 11, pp.11-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.181MB).

Dr. Dwayne Moore

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


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