In this stimulating book, Jessica Moss aims to show that Plato’s epistemological project is “radically different” (6) from what one might expect if exposed only to the contemporary epistemological scene. Moss’s main thesis has two distinct but related parts: first, about Plato’s key epistemological concepts; second, about the motivation behind Plato’s epistemology.

In conceptual terms, Moss sees the principal contrast for Plato not as one between knowledge and belief, as those terms might be understood in a contemporary context, but between a superior cognitive state (epistēmē) that gives its possessor “a deep grasp of ultimate reality,” and an inferior one (doxa) that represents “superficial thought that fails to penetrate beyond appearances” (85). In motivational terms, Plato’s epistemology is to be located within a fundamentally ethical project, such that being in a state of epistēmē “constitutes living well” (139).

Mediating, as it were, these epistemological and ethical...

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