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The Meaning of ›Craft‹ (τéχνη) in Plato’s Early Philosophy

Balaban, Oded

Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte, Bd. 49 (2007), Iss. 0: S. 8–31

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Balaban, Oded


The aim of craft-analogies in Plato’s early dialogues is to put forward a theory of knowledge in which only the content of intentional processes can be known.I will argue that, with this goal in mind, Plato offers an idea of craft that differs from, and is even opposed to the views of his time, as well as to those of our ownday, by changing the prevailing defi nition of craft—from the expertise of means to the expertise of ends. I will address the far-reaching consequences of this shift.Part 1 will expose what I understand by Plato’s approach to craft. Part 2 will expose Plato’s denial of the actual existence of the process of knowledge reducingit to its object or reference. Part 3 will address what I think are misinterpretations of Plato approach. Part 4 will present some textual evidence. And in Part 5I will analyse Plato’s shuttle-analogy, the more sophisticated of his craft-analogies. Finally, I will append a critical note on Terence Irwin’s understanding ofvirtue as craft-knowledge.


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