Event Detail

Thu Jan 25, 2024
4–6 PM
Philosophy Colloquium
Lea Schroeder
A puzzle about sight in Plato’s Timaeus

Plato’s Timaeus is emphatic in its praise of sight and the epistemic (and ethical) importance of seeing objects and their motions (esp. the motions of heavenly bodies like the sun, moon, and planets). But while the text contains a detailed description of the physical processes involved in our perception of individual colours, it is silent on what exactly seeing objects and their motions amounts to. This gap has led commentators to argue that the Timaeus is compatible with a wide range of interpretations of the objects and content of perception, ranging from views on which the content of visual perception is conceptual and predicative to views on which sight merely provides causal stimuli for the activity of reason. In this talk, I draw on resources from the Timaeus and Theaetetus to develop Plato’s answer to the following questions: (i) What is it for the soul to see objects? (ii) What is it for the soul to see objects in motion, or moving objects? (iii) How does the soul “observe” motions of objects on the basis of discontinuous episodes of seeing?