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αἴσθησιν. Strictly speaking, of course, αἴσθησις by itself does not, and cannot, present us with a judgment of any kind. It merely furnishes a particular sensation, which is referred to our mental picture of the objects in question, and the resulting judgment is not αἴσθησις, but δόξα, which is, according to Plato, a combination of μνήμη and αἴσθησις (see Phil. 38 B ff. with Bury's notes). And in point of fact, the sort of contradictory judgments which are here ascribed to the initial step in the psychological process, viz. αἴσθησις (524 A), have already been attributed to δόξα in V 479 B—479 E. We have already seen that Plato throughout the whole of this part of the Republic is not careful to distinguish between αἰσθητόν (especially ὁρατόν) and δοξαστόν (VI 510 A note); and the same tendency shews itself again here. But in this part of the dialogue, Plato's argument is no way affected by his imperfect analysis of the psychological process involved in such a judgment as ‘This is a finger.’ The relevant consideration is that in such cases the intellect is not, as a rule, aroused, and this is equally true whether we regard the judgment as an act of αἴσθησις alone or as the joint product of αἴσθησις and μνήμη.

εἴτ᾽ ἐγγύθεν κτλ. (like ὡς ἐγγύθεν etc. below) is said to prevent misapprehension, in view of Glauco's τὰ πόρρωθεν etc. in B.

ὧδε δὲ κτλ. The best commentary on the following exposition is Phaed. 101 A ff., especially 102 B ff.: cf. also Theaet. 154 C. These passages should be carefully read in connexion with the view enunciated here. I have endeavoured to explain some of the wider bearings of Plato's principle in a pamphlet on Classical Education published by Deighton, Bell and Co. 1895: see also App. II and Nettleship Hellen. pp. 152 ff. We should bear in mind that the antithesis of ἕν and πολλά was the fons et origo of Greek philosophy, and runs throughout its entire history. In Plato's time the question had become acute in connexion particularly with the problem of predication, and it was in trying to solve this special form of the antinomy that Plato devised his theory of Ideas. Nothing could be more natural or just than that his philosopher-kings should receive their first scientific impulse from the problem which had proved so great an intellectual stimulus in the past, and which had also led Plato himself to the goal whither he would have his guardians arrive, the contemplation of the Idea.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 101a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 154c
    • Plato, Philebus, 38b
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