more from Plato

Single Idea 13792

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism]

Full Idea

It isn't even reasonable to say that there is such a thing as knowledge, Cratylus, if all things are passing on and none remain.

Gist of Idea

There can't be any knowledge if things are constantly changing


Plato (Cratylus [c.377 BCE], 440a)

Book Reference

Plato: 'Complete Works', ed/tr. Cooper,John M. [Hackett 1997], p.155

A Reaction

This encapsulates Plato's horror at Heraclitus scepticism about the stable identity of things. It leads to the essentialism of Aristotle and Leibniz, who fear that there is no knowledge if we can't pin down individual identities. Know processes?