The "Anomaly of Plato" is a name for the fact that Socrates promoted Truth as a transcendent idea but (according to Popper), Plato did not allow for the immanent changes that Truth causes. Truths naturally cause changes, because when realities are known, change occurs.

The current comprehension of the anomaly is explained in more detail at these two links:

First comprehension

Follow up about first comprehension

Is this really an anomaly?

  • What is "the anomaly of Plato" ? No relevant sources founded when googling it... Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 10:55
  • The anomaly of Plato is, he promoted Truth as a transcendent idea but according to Popper, Plato did not allow the immanent changes, Truth causes. Truths, naturally cause changes, because when realities are known, change occurs. The current comprehension of the anomaly is explained in more detail at the two links of the question. Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 12:16
  • Pierre Duhem, "Save the Phenomena: an essay on the Idea of Physical Theory from Plato Galileo" (1908). I wanted to mention Duhem's work.
    – Gordon
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 12:31
  • After looking at the paper/Ken Goss, causality came to my mind. Cosmological and ontological views about causality differ and the two views would probably cause at least two different opinions, about the "anomaly of Pato?". Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 12:32
  • I took down the student paper by Ken Goss (Univ. N. Texas) on Duhem's essay because I had no way to judge its merits, but the Goss essay could be a perfectly fine essay. It sounds like Popper is just making a critique of Plato, he's not adding anything new. I think there is a more complete understanding of Plato's work now than was presented to me in school ( see Plato at SEP).
    – Gordon
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


The reason for this particular Platonic anomaly, and generally for all Platonic anomalies, is that he used commonly understood ideas from the cultural storehouse of his time as stand-ins for the often quite different concepts that he wanted to illuminate.

Platonic Truth, like all Platonic ideals, is a perfect, unchanging, eternal "entity" that exists outside of ordinary reality. It has only a loose relationship with regular, ordinary, small-T truths, which are always changing.

This can be seen clearly in Plato's idea of the noble lie which is, in his view, a big-T truth despite being a little-f falsehood.

  • Thank you for simplifying the question whilst keeping the idea in tact. One of the problems with regard to the anomaly is the clear distinction between Plato and Socrates. Socrates promoted the "noble lie" to the nobility, whom Plato was a member of. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:18
  • Socrates promoted Truth and the "noble lie" as an exemption, but according to Popper, "Plato" wanted to arrest all change, Truth causes, unless I am mistaken. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:24
  • @MarquardDirkPienaar It is fine to have your own answer in mind for your own question, but you've already explained it in its own entry. There's no need to reiterate it in the comments on my answer, which makes it seem as though you are more interested in promoting your own perspective than in understanding anyone else's. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:57
  • I upvoted your answer Chris, partly because I appreciate other people, giving their opinions about the sensitive issue relating to Caiaphas syndrome. Courage was relevant. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 20:06

A motivation for existence of the "anomaly of Plato?", is, most probably, Socrates and Plato were two different persons with different philosophical views. The anomaly partly came into existence because their views are often construed together as Platonic, instead of Platonic and Socratic. Socrates thought change/movement was best, but Plato, maybe, favored stasis as the favorable human condition.

To properly comprehend the two different philosophical views, comprehension and inner knowledge of hermeneutics and its mechanisms are relevant.

"It was at Athens, too, that public opinion was convulced, on the eve of the Sicilian Expedition, by the mysterious and ominous mutilation of certain public statues, the 'Hermae', or busts of Hermes. The disasters which followed were attributed by some to this sacrilege. Socrates the Athenian philosopher who became, thanks to his pupil Plato, the archetypal figure of the man of intellect, and left as a maxim the view that 'the unexamined life is not worth living', offended the pieties of his state and was condemned to die for it by his fellow-citizens; he was also condemned for questioning received astronomy. It does not seem that similar trials took place elsewhere, but they imply a background of popular superstition which must have been more typical of the Greek community than the presence of a Socrates." (Roberts 1995: 193)

ROBERTS; J.M. 1995. The Penguin History of the World. London, England: Penguin Group, 3rd edition.

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