'Say goodbye to opinions!': Plutarch’s philosophy of natural phenomena and the journey to metaphysical knowledge

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As a Platonist, Plutarch acknowledges a clear ontological separation between the sensible and the metaphysical world, and, consequently, a neat epistemological distinction between opinion and knowledge. At the same time, his personal contributions to the study of natural phenomena show his conviction that a crossing of this divide is possible. The present article explores three different epistemological models to evaluate how this tension can be solved. It argues that Plutarch rehabilitates the ontological status of the opinables, by stressing that the sensible world derives its existence and its reality from the intelligibles. In fact, the causal relationship between forms and matter is reversely the epistemological journey to knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNatural Spectaculars
Subtitle of host publicationAspects of Plutarch’s Philosophy of Nature
EditorsMichiel Meeusen, Luc van der Stockt
PublisherLeuven University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-94-6270-043-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePlutarchea Hypomnemata
PublisherLeuven University Press


  • epistemology
  • Forms (- as causes)
  • ontology
  • opinion
  • knowledge
  • two-worlds theory
  • δόξα
  • νόησις
  • Plato
  • Plutarch

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