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The Teleology of Action in Plato's Republic$
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Andrew Payne

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799023.001.0001

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The Form of the Good I

The Form of the Good I

Vision and Knowledge in Three Images

(p.150) 8 The Form of the Good I
The Teleology of Action in Plato's Republic

Andrew Payne

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the premise that understanding the Form of the Good is the unintended end or purpose of philosophic inquiry in the sense of Plato’s functional teleology of action. It begins the presentation of this theme by introducing the three images that Socrates uses to convey his beliefs about the Form of the Good: the Sun, the Divided Line, and the Cave. A motif common to these images is the role of vision as an analogue to knowledge. Plato’s theory of vision in the Timaeus is examined in detail. The image of the Divided Line in particular conveys the thought that we exercise vision for the sake of directing our thought toward intelligible objects. The present chapter concludes with an overview of the comparison Plato frequently employs between vision and knowledge.

Keywords:   Form of the Good, vision, knowledge, Divided Line, image, Sun, Cave, imagination, belief

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