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Conceptions of Truth in Plato’sSophist

  • Michail Peramatzis EMAIL logo


The paper seeks to specify how, according to Plato’s Sophist, true statements achieve their being about objects and their saying that ‘what is about such objects is’. Drawing on the 6th definition of the sophist, I argue for a normative-teleological conception of truth in which the best condition of our soul –in its making statements or having mental states– consists in its seeking to attain the telos of truth. Further, on the basis of Plato’s discussion of original and image, his distinction between correct and incorrect image, and the 7th definition, I argue that achieving the telos of truth involves preserving the original’s proportions and appropriate features. The view that Plato’s conception of truth takes statements or mental states to be certain types of image is not ground-breaking. The important contribution of my argument is that it offers a plausible way to understand two recalcitrant claims made by Plato: first, that falsity obtains not only in the region of incorrect images (appearances) but also within correct images (likenesses); second, that some incorrect images are based on knowledge and so could be true.

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Published Online: 2020-07-18
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

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