In his Commentary on the Alcibiades i Proclus often discusses and links the peculiar epistemological category of “double ignorance” (ignorance of ignorance combined with the conceit to knowledge) with evil and grievous error. To understand this more fully, the following analyzes Proclus’ concept of double ignorance, its characteristics and its causes. Markedly, due to his understanding of double ignorance, Proclus offers a response to the “Socratic” idea that no one willingly errs as this particular category of not-knowing enables him to explain how individuals, despite desiring and in some sense knowing the good, fail or ‘miss the mark’ in articulating and doing the good.
To dismiss the problems of Socratic moral intellectualism as well as Socratic irony (with respect to his claims of ignorance) in the following we shall first discuss how there are different forms of not-knowing in the Platonic dialogues. By referencing various passages throughout Plato’s entire corpus we shall see that like his nuanced understanding of knowledge, Plato also delineated between kinds of ignorance with only one denying virtue and the good life to individuals. This will prove that Socrates does not associate with a reprehensible state when he claims ignorance and thus there is no need to appeal to irony when he makes such avowals of not-knowing. In the second half of this essay I will also suggest that the knowledge to which Socrates appeals is not an “ironic” appeal to human knowledge, as various scholars have argued, but is a sincere appeal to divine knowledge, i.e. immediate wisdom, which all human beings possess and rely on in their daily lives. In other words, Socratic knowing is a kind of enigmatic knowing which must be understood as a pre-theoretical, unexamined or innate wisdom. For Socrates all individuals “possess” such wisdom but in order to do the work that is “properly” human, i.e. the work allowing for virtue, one must enigmatically marry this “knowledge” with recognized ignorance.
In examining the concept of double ignorance—one’s unawareness of one’s ignorance—in the work of Olympiodorus, this chapter makes two points. First, double ignorance, and the attachment to one’s reputation and belongings which it involves, leaves room for a Socratic, mimetic pedagogy that reveals true reality as what the doubly ignorant has desired all along. Second, Olympiodorus develops the novel idea of a virtuous kind of double ignorance, in which purified souls are unaware of their ignorance of the body.
Myths and films do more than serve as prompts for reflection and critical thinking. They also engage us in unique and visceral ways as audience members and philosophers. Understanding that experience is essential to defending their philosophical value. In this paper, we offer an account of that value by describing three ways Plato utilizes myths in his dialogues before showing how those three uses suggest an account of the way we experience film that is broadly Platonic in spirit. In Part 1 we focus on different ways Plato constructs and uses images and myths in his dialogues, distinguishing them into three rough categories of pseudos, kalos, and eikōsmythos. We argue that each category directs our attention to certain general forms of life. In Part 2, we describe four kinds of existential experience we can have through our engagements with imagery in Plato and contemporary film: self-reflexive or intra-personal experience, relational or interpersonal experiences,phantasticor world-view experiences and finally, erotic experiences or experiences of a motivating desire toward a form of life. We provide multiple brief descriptions of films that offer viewers each of the three types of existential experience. We conclude that these experiences show how images and myth making in Plato and on the screen point to the philosophical value in our experience of them.