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Volume 9/10, 2011/2012

L’âme et ses Discours de l’Antiquité au Moyen Âge

Andrei Cornea
Pages 203-216

La prénotion d’Épicure est‑elle d’inspiration platonicienne?

The article calls in question the widely held opinion that Epicurus developed his concept of prolepsis as an empirical “alternative response” to the Platonic Forms. One tries to show that in fact the prolepsis and the Form produce two different types of knowledge and that their difference goes beyond the fact that the former is empirical while the latter is not: the prolepsis is based on recognition and strives to ascertain the identity of the perceived things, while the Form is based on recollection and seeks to know what their essence or nature is. Recognition and recollection are phenomenologically quite different. However, it is still possible that the Epicurean prolepsis was indebted to Plato, but it was the Plato of the Theaetetus and Philebus rather than that of the Meno and Phaedo. So one holds that Epicurus developed a somehow marginal Platonic epistemology to which he assigned a central and basic role in his own epistemology (the Canon).

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