Self-Knowledge in the Eye-Soul Analogy of the Alcibiades

In: Phronesis
Daniel Ferguson Department of Philosophy, Yale University 108 Connecticut Hall, Old Campus, 314 College Street, New Haven CT 06511 USA

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The kind of self-knowledge at issue in the eye-soul analogy of the Alcibiades (132d5-133c7) is knowledge of one’s epistemic state, i.e. what one knows and does not know, rather than knowledge of what one is. My evidence for this is the connection between knowledge of one’s epistemic state and self-improvement, the equivalence of self-knowledge to moderation, and the fact that ‘looking’ into the soul of another is a metaphor for elenctic discussion. The final lines of the analogy (133c1-7) clarify that the part of the soul one ‘looks’ into and the part one learns about when learning about one’s epistemic state is divine.

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