Cognitive Identity in Platonic Epistemology

By Dwayne Moore.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cognitive identity is the doctrine that in knowing the rational soul is identical with the object that is known. Although some of Plato’s successors adhere to this doctrine, conventional wisdom suggests that Plato does not. Lately, however, Lloyd Gerson (2003; 2006; 2009) has suggested a Platonic argument that leads to the cognitive identity of the rational soul with the object of knowledge. Travis Butler (2005a; 2005b; 2007) has recently criticized Gerson’s position. Among other things, he argues that the cognitive identity thesis eradicates the distinction between subject and object. In this paper I argue that Butler’s worries are misplaced, as cognitive identity is a species of what Gerson calls material identity, and material identity does not bring this consequence with it.

Keywords: Plato, Epistemology, Identity, Infallibility, Non-propositional Knowledge

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.391-404. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 937.341KB).

Dr. Dwayne Moore

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


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