Perception and Perceptual Judgment in Plato’s Theaetetus and Timaeus

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Harte, Verity


This dissertation develops an account of perception in the Theaetetus and the Timaeus, two so-called “late” writings of Plato that I argue theorize distinct but complementary aspects of perception. On the overall view that emerges from these writings, perception is anchored in the world – an instance of perception directly presents to the soul the worldly objects that caused it. At the same time, perception by itself precludes awareness of what is perceived as something or other, and ordinary perceptual experiences that do involve such awareness are hybrid mental states that fuse perception, memory, and (subpersonal) judgment. The resulting account of perception simultaneously wards off skeptical worries and gives the senses a minimal role in determining how we see the world; it also allows Plato to distinguish between different kinds of mistaken perceptual experiences in a way that is sensitive both to the environmental and bodily conditions of perception and to cognitive defects that affect the subject’s (subpersonal) processing and identifying of what is perceived.

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