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Durham e-Theses
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Plato’s Later Moral Epistemology

CACCIATORI, CARLO (2022) Plato’s Later Moral Epistemology. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This Ph.D. thesis aims to provide a comprehensive account of the relationship between ethics and epistemology in Plato’s late dialogues (specifically, Sophist, Statesman, Philebus, and Laws).
While scholars have been concerned with understanding the extent to which Plato’s middle dialogues resonate with his early theory of ethical intellectualism (according to which knowledge is a necessary and sufficient condition for virtue), Plato’s later moral epistemology has received much less attention. The few scholars who have worked on the subject have argued that Plato’s late dialogues present a radical transformation of the epistemological and ethical ideas displayed in Plato’s earlier works. The scholarly debate has almost unanimously concluded that Plato’s late dialogues heavily revise the theory of ethical intellectualism that, arguably, features in the earlier works.
Through an in-depth analysis of the late dialogues’ textual evidence, this thesis will show that the so-called Socratic theory of ethical intellectualism has not been abandoned by Plato in his late works. To this end, I will contend that the Sophist, the Statesman, the Philebus, and the Laws suggest that (philosophical) knowledge is the ultimate condition that a moral agent has to meet to be fully virtuous. In addition, taking for granted that philosophers alone can achieve a full and philosophical virtue, I will also show that Plato’s later moral epistemology extends beyond philosophers. For, while achieving philosophical knowledge is presented as a necessary and sufficient condition for being virtuous, I will argue that Plato’s late dialogues establish that opinion, if true, is sufficient for acting virtuously.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 May 2022 12:48

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