Plato’s Republic is dominated by the idiom of seeing: to describe the framing encounters, the ordinary business of our engagement with the perceptible world, and the extraordinary business of the intellect and its development of knowledge. But the account of vision that underlies all of this has rich cognitive content, which makes it possible to think about vision as a faculty that can be developed, improved and even perfected. There is considerable plausibility in this view of vision; Platonic art can tell us about our own aesthetic experience. This exposes an unexpected fertility in the analogy between vision and intellection.
M. M. McCabe is Emerita Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Kings College, London, and is currently Sather Professor of Classics at UC Berkeley. ‘Parsing Vision’ is one of her series of 2017 Sather Lectures on “Seeing and Saying: Plato on Virtue and Knowledge.”
This lecture is sponsored by the Departments of Classics and Philosophy, and the Argyropoulos Endowment for Hellenic Studies.