Non-propositional knowledge in Plato and Wittgenstein




Fryer, Ian David

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In the Blue Book, Wittgenstein explicitly opposes his own method of philosophical investigation to that of Socrates, who will not accept a list of examples even as a preliminary answer to his 'what-is-x' question. Relying on Meno and the Seventh Letter however, I will provide an interpretation of Plato's epistemic priority principle that does away with the assumption that what Socrates seeks is the uniquely correct definition of x. Following the work of Fransisco J. Gonzalez, I will argue that the philosopher seeks knowledge of x itself and that this knowledge is non-propositional. An interesting result is that Plato and Wittgenstein turn out to have extremely similar conceptions of philosophy. In particular, I argue that the distinction between doxa and episteme in Plato should be understood along the lines of Wittgenstein's distinction between saying and showing.



Ludwig Wittgenstein, Plato, Socrates