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Abstract

A distinction between knowledge and belief is set out and justified at the end of Book V of Plato’s Republic. The justification is intended to establish the claim of the philosophers to rule in an ideal state. I set out the argument and explain why considerable disagreement remains about the nature of the distinction and the assumptions on which it rests. I discuss the main options for interpreting the justification, briefly assessing their strengths and weaknesses. I conclude with comments on recent developments, and by drawing attention to a neglected aspect of Plato’s distinction.