Knowledge And Perception In Aristotle

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Russell, Bertrand. (1945). “Knowledge and Perception in Plato”. A History of
Western Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., p. 171-181 In one of his dialogues, Plato tried to address one of the most challenging inquiries in history namely, WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE? In his Thaetetus, the notion of knowledge is discuss by setting up and throwing down definitions of science and knowledge. Plato first eliminated the confusions in the idea of knowledge and specific kinds of knowledge. He then ascertained the nature of the definition before proceeding to analyse the presented definitions and assertions. There are three theories of knowledge that Plato emphasized: 1) ‘Knowledge is sensible
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The chapter revolves around these key points together with statements that is identified with such definition. Aside from the notion that knowledge is perception, the Protagorean statement ‘man is the measure of all things’ is also accentuated together with the Heraclitean thought that everything is changing both in movement and…show more content…
(p.175). For example in comparing objects, Russell expound that we can see the shades of colour but we cannot sense that they are different from one another or the same. Existence on the other hand is ‘among the things that the mind apprehends by itself’. (p.176). Therefore, existence is something you think about, not felt or sense about. On numbers, there is obviously no argument against it being an objective construction. But, there are two things to consider, one is what Russell called the propositions of arithmetic (“2+2=4”) and the empirical propositions of enumeration (“I have ten fingers”). Pure mathematics is definitely not derived from perception. “To know that a mathematical proposition is correct, we do not have to study the world, but only the meanings of the symbols.” (p. 177). On the other hand, propositions of enumeration, like the example of Russell in “I have ten hands” are in part dependent on perception because the word “ten” can be viewed as otherwise. This implies that numbers are precisely formal because numbers are the same in form and not in constituent. Another argument against perception as knowledge is that it is neither true nor false, because “a percept is just an occurrence”. (p. 175). According to Russell, in identifying objects you do not see the object itself but only their colour and shape.
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