Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato by Katja Maria VogtBelief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato by Katja Maria Vogt

Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato

byKatja Maria Vogt

Paperback | September 15, 2015

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Katja Maria Vogt's Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato explores a Socratic intuition about the difference between belief and knowledge. Beliefs - doxai - are deficient cognitive attitudes. In believing something, one accepts some content as true without knowing that it is true; oneholds something to be true that could turn out to be false. Since our actions reflect what we hold to be true, holding beliefs is potentially harmful for oneself and others. Accordingly, beliefs are ethically worrisome and even, in the words of Plato's Socrates, "shameful." As Vogt argues, this is aserious philosophical proposal and it speaks to intuitions we are likely to share. But it involves a notion of belief that is rather different from contemporary notions. Today, it is a widespread assumption that true beliefs are better than false beliefs, and that some true beliefs (perhaps those that come with justifications) qualify as knowledge. Socratic epistemology offers a genuinely different picture. In aiming for knowledge, one must aim to get rid ofbeliefs. Knowledge does not entail belief - belief and knowledge differ in such important ways that they cannot both count as kinds of belief. As long as one does not have knowledge, one should reserve judgment and investigate by thinking through possible ways of seeing things. According to Vogt,the ancient skeptics and Stoics draw many of these ideas from Plato's dialogues, revising Socratic-Platonic arguments as they see fit. Belief and Truth retraces their steps through interpretations of the Apology, Ion, Republic, Theaetetus, and Philebus, reconstructs Pyrrhonian investigation andthought, and illuminates the connections between ancient skepticism and relativism, as well as the Stoic view that beliefs do not even merit the evaluations "true" and "false."
Katja Maria Vogt is Professor of Philosophy, at Columbia University. She is the author of Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City (OUP, 2007)
Title:Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of PlatoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.19 × 5.51 × 0.59 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019027719X

ISBN - 13:9780190277192

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. What is Ignorance? Plato on Presumed Knowledge, Wishful Thinking, and Not Understanding Your Own Thoughts2. Belief and Investigation in Plato's Republic3. Belief and Truth in Plato's Theaetetus4. The Nature of Disagreement: Ancient Relativism and Skepticism5. The Aims of Skeptical Investigation6. Skepticism and Concepts: Can the Skeptic Think?7. Why Beliefs Are Never True: A Reconstruction of Stoic Epistemology8. Concluding Remarks: Skepticism and RelativismBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"This is a stimulating book on the history of philosophy which systematically defends a single message: beliefs are deficient cognitive attitudes. [...] Vogt's book is to be recommended because it revives a long-standing skeptical tradition from Plato onwards and addresses important systematicquestions. As Vogt comments at the beginning of her book, this tradition is not concerned with whether I have hands or with whether you are not a zombie (as other familiar skeptical problems have it), but concerns rather the importance of forming beliefs about such matters in the first place. Thistradition, as Vogt emphasizes, can be seen as a battle against one's own ignorance-and this is a message worth telling. This battle does not imply, indeed, that we should make more knowledge claims. It means rather that we should know which knowledge claims we are entitled to make-namely, hardlyany." --Jan Willem Wieland, Mind