2008 | 6(41) | 27-41
Article title

THE DICHOTOMIC CHARACTER OF NOESIS IN PLATO (Dychotomiczny charakter 'noesis' u Platona)

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Intellectual perception is a really important aspect of the Plato's thought. In works of the philosopher there is a Greek word 'noesis' which denotes 'intellectual perception'. However, having read Plato's dialogues and letters, we can find out, that 'noesis' is a phenomenon which has two irreconcilable characteristics. On the one hand, it is a phase of scientific perception, which is connected with 'logos' (this is proved by some passages of 'The Republic', for example: VI. 511d; VII. 522e; VII 523b; VII. 524b). On the other hand, 'noesis' is mental perception and does not have any discursive elements, here it is an act, not a process (this can be proved, for example, by a passage of 'Republic' - VII 529b or by a passage of 'Timeus' - 52a). Plato's philosophy does not have a systematic character, so readers often have to interpret the meaning of his texts. But, without any risks, we can state that also 'The Symposium' and 'The Seventh Letter', though 'noesis' does not appear in these works literally, have great importance in the issue. According to the story of Diotyma and 'epistemological digression' of 'The Seventh Letter', 'noesis' is the mental act. The specification of the issue determines a structure of the text. In the first part the authoress tries to prove that 'noesis' is the process connected with 'logos', in the second part she tries to indicate that 'noesis' is also the mental act. In her opinion, this dichotomic character of intellectual perception is irreconcilable.
  • Joanna Papiernik, address not given, contact the journal editor
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