Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Pursuing the GoodEthics and Metaphysics in Plato's Republic$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Douglas Cairns and Fritz-Gregor Herrmann

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748628117

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628117.001.0001

Show Summary Details

The Aporia in the Charmides About Reflexive Knowledge and the Contribution to its Solution in the sun Analogy of the Republic

The Aporia in the Charmides About Reflexive Knowledge and the Contribution to its Solution in the sun Analogy of the Republic

Chapter:
(p.231) 11 The Aporia in the Charmides About Reflexive Knowledge and the Contribution to its Solution in the sun Analogy of the Republic
Source:
Pursuing the Good
Author(s):

Vasilis Politis

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748628117.003.0012

This chapter has two aims. Section I examines the aporia in the Charmides about a certain kind of knowledge (for short, reflexive knowledge): the knowledge of what one knows, that one knows it, and of what one does not know, that one does not know it. The aporia is whether or not, first, it is possible that there should be such a knowledge as this, and, second, if this is possible, the possession of it would be of any benefit. The chapter concentrates on the following questions. First, what is supposed to be the source of this aporia? And, second, what is supposed to be its positive upshot, especially in view of the fact that this dialogue ends not with a solution to it but, on the contrary, with a declaration of defeat in the face of it? Section II examines Plato's account of the idea of the good in the Sun-analogy of the Republic. It begins by considering certain central features of this account in its own right, and argues that the idea of the good is characterised as the joint cause of precisely two kinds of thing: on the one hand, the being, truth, and knowability of the things that are, are true and are knowable; on the other hand, the ability of the rational soul to know these things. Against this background, the chapter goes on to argue that the account of the idea of the good in the Sun analogy provides the resources for an account of reflexive knowledge which holds out promise of solving the Charmides aporia, that is, showing how reflexive knowledge can be both possible and beneficial, and of doing so in a way which addresses both the source and the upshot of this aporia as treated in the Charmides.

Keywords:   aporia, Charmides, knowledge, Plato, good, Sun-analogy

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.