KOINONIA Greek Forum
KOINONIA - Greek Forum
Profile | Register | Active Topics | Latest Topics | Latest Replies | Popular
RSS Feed | Partners | Search | AFQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Communities
 The language
 Interpretation
 Gnosis and Episteme in Plato
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
The Original Greek New Testament

 
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 4

George

Greece
599 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2007 :  02:13:51  


There was an interesting post by Don Paarlberg about the relationship of gnosis with episteme. Don deleted his post, judging, I think, that it was of no interest to others, since it remained unanswered. There are many reasons why a post can remain unanswered, and beyond these, who knows when an answer might appear? Knowing just the question may be useful in itself, even if no answer ever appears.

Anyway, if I can summarize the post, from what I remember, Don asks what (if any) is the difference between gnosis and episteme in Plato's dialogues.

So far as I know, episteme is almost equal with a special knowledge (the episteme of a doctor, for example) while gnosis has a wider meaning that incorporates episteme.

It is characteristic, that one can know (gignoskein) when one has a special knowledge (episteme) of something (Charm. 170d), or one can ask what episteme is and know (gignoskein) its essence (Theaet. 146e).


 

Don Paarlberg

USA
50 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2007 :  08:58:25  

 

Thank you, George. That was extremely helpful.

1. I also had asked why it is that Plato regards art (techne) as contrasting with knowledge (episteme), but apparently not with knowledge (gnosis). And I had asked similarly why he regards opinion (doxa) as contrasting with knowledge (episteme), but apparently not with knowledge (gnosis).

The answer to my techne question seems to follow directly from your explanation: "[E]pisteme is . . . a special knowledge (the episteme of a doctor, for example) . . ." It would naturally follow that differing fields have differing sciences. So we could have your episteme of a doctor, as well as a differing episteme of the statesman. Then, parallel with this, differing activities have differing arts. So we have the arts (techne) of shoe-making, of pottery, etc. Moreover, if we have a specific field or activity - ship navigation, rhetoric, etc. - we can naturally ask if it is an art (techne) or a science (episteme). If I'm not mistaken, Plato would say that 'gnosis' behaves differently. It's not that there is one gnosis of this field and some other gnosis of some other field. Rather, gnosis is just gnosis. And it would be for this reason that field-specific techne would naturally contrast with field-specific episteme but not with gnosis.

I'm less confident I can see why Plato contrasts doxa with episteme, but apparently not with gnosis. When he makes this contrast, he seems to be saying that episteme is knowledge of things in light of reasons (principles, causes), whereas doxa is not based in reasons. But what then of gnosis? Let me at this point take a guess: gnosis is like doxa in that it is not based in reasons; it differs in that doxa can be true or false, whereas gnosis is always true. Am I wrong in this guess?

2. Your citation from the Charmides was extremely helpful. That dialogue includes an important discussion with Critias which, I suspect, shifts back and forth between gnosis and episteme; but my Jowett text is only in English, so it's hard to be sure how Plato is using his Greek. Could you please help me out with the following:

At 164d-65b, Critias frames the hypothesis he and Socrates are to consider - that temperance (sophrosyne) is self-knowledge. He develops this hypothesis from a reference to the inscription 'Know thyself!' at Delphi. We know that the god's command at Delphi was phrased in terms of 'gnosis'. So am I right in assuming that the hypothesis identified in this passage is that temperance is self-knowledge (gnosis)?

At 165c, immediately following, Socrates construes this hypothesis: "[T]emperance or wisdom, if it is a species of knowledge, must be a science, and a science of something." "Yes," Critias agrees, "the science of a man's self." Am I right in guessing that Plato here has shifted over and is using 'episteme' instead? If so, why didn't Critias object? "No," we might have expected him to say, "the god at Delphi construes the self-knowledge I'm talking about as gnosis."

At 167a, Socrates further construes this hypothesis. "Then the wise or temprate man . . . will know himself, and be able to examine what he knows or does not know, and to see what others know and think that they know [but may or may not really know]." Critias agrees. Then at 167b-c, Socrates further construes. "[T]here must be a single science which is wholly a science of itself and of other sciences, and [this science] is also the science of the absence of science." Critias agrees again. My question is: is Plato using 'episteme' throughout these passages, or is he shifting back and forth with 'gnosis'?

Again, thanks for your extremely helpful post.

Don

Go to Top of Page


George

Greece
599 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2007 :  10:33:12  

 

Hi Don,

Thanks for returning to this subject. My 'summary' lacked all those precious details that made your post interesting.

"Temperance or wisdom, if it is a species of knowledge, must be a science, and a science of something". There is the use of gignoskein and episteme together (the shift that you mention exists in the original). Gnosis, as I understand, is not contrasted with episteme, as I said in the previous post, it contains all epistemai. In these terms the use of both words in this sentence is natural; a species of knowledge founds a science. Why should Critias object?

Socrates uses episteme in the passages that follow. Critias' definition of sophrosene is "episteme of oneself". In 167a we read that a sophron man and only him will know (gnosetai) himself and will be able to examine (exetasai) what he may happen to have understood [eidenai - eidenai is another 'knowledge-word'] and what not.

For your question about doxa; Phaedo 96b relates doxa with science. Knowing the reasons why a doxa is true, makes episteme (in Theaet. 201d). In Resp478c doxa is between knowledge (gnosis) and ignorance, being neither of them.

Go to Top of Page


Don Paarlberg

USA
50 Posts

Posted - 04 Aug 2007 :  14:12:46  

 

Thank you, George. Again, that was very helpful to me.

1. To confirm, because your post was not entirely clear and the point seems important. In the Charmides passage:

(a) Critias at 164d asserts his belief that "self-knowledge (?) is the very essence of temperance". Here, the '(?)' indicates that I would like you to tell me the Greek word that Critias uses for "knowledge" in this assertion of his.

(b) Immediately following at 164d, Critias quotes the inscription at Delphi. Am I right in assuming that, as Critias quotes it, the inscription reads "GNWTHI SEAUTON"?

(c) Later on at 165b, Critias asserts that "temperance is self-knowledge (?)." Again, please fill in the brackets with the Greek word Critias uses for "knowledge".

2. I especially appreciated your Republic 478c citation. Working from the English text and understanding Plato's purpose at this point, I would have expected him to be contrasting doxa with knowledge (episteme). Your testimony that he uses knowledge (gnosis) instead powerfully suggests what you seem overall to be claiming - that Plato at least sometimes doesn't seem to care which of these two words he uses.

3. In my original post, now deleted, I had asked about some passages in the Theaetetus. Could you help me out please with the following, using the fill-in-the-brackets device explained above. (I'm using Cornford's translation.)

(a) 151d. Socrates posing the problem to be discussed. "So, Theaetetus, start again and try to explain what knowledge (?) is."

(b) 151e. Theaetetus stating the first hypothesis. "[K]nowledge (?) is nothing but perception (AISTHANETAI)."

(c) 187c. Socrates construing Theaetetus' statement of the second hypothesis. "[T]here are two sorts of judgment, one true, the other false, and you define knowledge (?) as judgment that is true." (By the way, I understand also that the word Cornford translates here as "judgment" is some form of "DOXA".)

(d) 201d. Theaetetus stating the third hypothesis, in accord with a view he heard from someone else. "He said that true belief (ALHTHHS DOXA) with the addition of an account (LOGOS) was knowledge (?) . . ."

4. Again, we've got the Meno (W. K. C. Guthrie's translation). Could you please fill in the brackets for the following.

(a) 80e. Socrates stating the 'trick argument' now famously known as 'Meno's paradox'. "[A] man cannot try to discover either what he knows (?) or what he does not know (?). He would not seek what he knows (?), for since he knows (?) it there is no need of the inquiry, nor what he does not know (?), for in that case he does not even know (?) what he is looking for."

(b) 81c-d. Socrates claiming to solve the 'trick argument' by appeal to his [Plato's] famous suggestion that learning is recollection. "Thus the soul, since it is immortal . . . and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is. So we need not be surprised if it can recall the knowledge (?) of virtue or anything else which, as we see, it once possessed. . . [W[hen a man has recalled a single piece of knowledge (?) - learned it, in ordinary language - there is no reason why he should not find out all the rest . . ."

Sorry for a busy post.

Don



Go to Top of Page


George

Greece
599 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2007 :  11:46:24  

 

So, let's see the original (in parentheses)


(a) Critias at 164d asserts his belief that "self-knowledge (gignoskein eauton) is the very essence of temperance".

(b) Am I right in assuming that, as Critias quotes it, the inscription reads "GNWTHI SEAUTON"? - Yes

(c) Later on at 165b, Critias asserts that "temperance is self-knowledge (gignoskein eauton)."

Some passages in the Theaetetus.

(a) 151d. Socrates posing the problem to be discussed. "So, Theaetetus, start again and try to explain what knowledge (episteme) is."

(b) 151e. Theaetetus stating the first hypothesis. "[K]nowledge (episteme) is nothing but perception (aisthesis)."

(c) 187c. Socrates construing Theaetetus' statement of the second hypothesis. "[T]here are two sorts of judgment, one true, the other false, and you define knowledge (episteme) as judgment (doxa) that is true."

(d) 201d. Theaetetus stating the third hypothesis, in accord with a view he heard from someone else. "He said that true belief (ALHTHHS DOXA) with the addition of an account (LOGOS) was knowledge (episteme)"

4. Again, we've got the Meno

(a) 80e. Socrates stating the 'trick argument' now famously known as 'Meno's paradox'. "[A] man cannot try to discover either what he knows (oide) or what he does not know (oide). He would not seek what he knows (oide), for since he knows (oide) it there is no need of the inquiry, nor what he does not know (oide), for in that case he does not even know (oide) what he is looking for."

(b) 81c-d. Socrates claiming to solve the 'trick argument' by appeal to his [Plato's] famous suggestion that learning is recollection. "Thus the soul, since it is immortal . . . and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is. So we need not be surprised if it can recall the knowledge (epistato [the verb of episteme: to recall the things which she epistato]) of virtue or anything else which, as we see, it once possessed. . . [W[hen a man has recalled a single piece of knowledge (not in the original: "when a man remembers just one thing, which people call mathesis [learning]") - learned it, in ordinary language - there is no reason why he should not find out all the rest . . ."

Go to Top of Page


Don Paarlberg

USA
50 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2007 :  13:40:44  

 

Wonderful, wonderful!

1. The Charmides. On Aug 2 you said that "Critias' definition of sophrosene is 'episteme of oneself'." If I understand you correctly now, Critias in the 164c-65b passage consistently treats sophrosene as gnosis of oneself and at 165b claims that self-gnosis is its definition. And it is later, at 165c, that Critias claims in response to Socrates' suggestion that sophrosene is episteme of oneself. And it was this later 165c claim that you referred to on Aug 2.

3. In the Theaetetus, could Plato - on your view - just as well have dealt with these issues by talking in terms of gnosis? Is there some slight connotation that he achieves by consistently talking instead, as he does, in terms of episteme?

4. In the Meno, what in the world is "oide"??? I had never dreamed there was yet another word for knowledge! Is "oide" pretty much the same as "gnosis" and "episteme", or does it have some unique connotation?

Thanks again.

Don

Go to Top of Page


Page: of 4 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
Jump To:
ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

Koinonia Greek Forum Feed // Promote Greek Learning

Use Elpenor's Libraries and Greek Language departments to stimulate your thinking. To refer to a text there published, just copy its url and paste it in your post. ||| Get updates of all Ellopos sites by e-mail. ||| Download Shortcuts for easy access to the Communities - or drag this icon and drop it in the Links bar of your browser :ELPENOR

Reference address : http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/koinonia/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=321© Elpenor