Plato’s Epistemology: Being and Seeming

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2022.05.06 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Jessica Moss, Plato’s Epistemology: Being and Seeming, Oxford University Press, 2021, 258pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198867401.

Reviewed by Jan Szaif, University of California, Davis

How does Plato’s epistemology compare to our contemporary notions of knowledge and belief? Is Plato even talking about the same kinds of cognitive states when he discusses the difference between epistêmê (usually translated as “knowledge”) and doxa (translated as “belief” or “opinion”)? If not, what motivates his approach, and can we still relate to it? These questions are the starting point for Jessica Moss in her new book on Plato’s epistemology. She argues that Plato maintains an object-based epistemology: Cognitive states are individuated and defined not by a difference in justification or evidential support, but by their different object domains, and they receive their characteristic qualities from their objects. Her interpretation revives and sharpens a past tradition of reading Plato, consciously departing from…

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