Plato’s dialogue

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Epistemology Reading Assignment: Plato and Aristotle on Knowledge

Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus

Read the excerpt and answer the following questions.

  1. According to Plato, is sensory perception knowledge?

  2. Is thinking which is defined as “opining” (i.e. forming an opinion) knowledge?

  3. Are some opinions better than others?

  4. Is all true opinion knowledge?

  5. Does any other requirement have to be fulfilled in order to be the possessor of knowledge?

Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Read the excerpt and answer the following questions.

  1. According to Aristotle, how does sensation initiate the process of knowing?

  2. What learning processes are built on the foundation laid by sensation?

  3. What is wisdom, and why does Aristotle hold it in such high regard?

  4. How is wisdom the result of art?

  5. How is wisdom a form of knowledge superior to simply knowing “what” something is?

Learning Summary/Success Criteria

Based on your learning from the readings and questions, complete the chart below.

Would Plato and Aristotle agree with the statements? Yes or No?

Epistemological Concepts



Sensory perception of material objects is knowledge.

Sensory perception is wisdom.

Perception of the sensed form the foundation which leads to true knowledge.

Opinion or belief about sensory perceptions constitutes knowledge.

Thinking, defined as true opinion supported by rational explanation, is knowledge.

Innate knowledge of eternal forms that exist separately from material objects is true knowledge.

Wisdom consists in knowing the cause which made a material thing to be what it is.

When one knows the substance (matter and form) or essential nature of a material object, one knows the first cause that made it to be what it is. This knowledge is true wisdom and is therefore true knowledge. This knowledge begins in sensory perception.

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