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image of Méthexis

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to shed some light on the early Stoics' practice of managing platonic suggestions to construct their epistemology. Instances of such a practice, which scholars have recently focussed on, are the Stoic reassessment of the account of phantasia Plato offers in the Sophist and the image of the wax block as discussed in the Theaetetus. In this work I put forward a comparison between the simile of the soul-book, as presented by Socrates in the Philebus (39a1-c2), and the Stoic image of the soul as a sheet in which conceptions are inscribed. I try to show that a far-reaching investigation of the relationship between Plato and early Stoic epistemology should take such a comparison into due account. In section one, I go into the details of the comparison and argue that Plato's perceptual judgment (this is how I translate the term doxa as it is used in the relevant section of the Philebus) is compatible with Stoic phantasia. In section two, I try to show that the theorisation of assent enable the Stoics to reply to an objection Aristotle made to Plato's definition of phantasia as a mixture of perception and judgment.


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