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Theaetetus (Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , Robin Waterfield
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

26 Mar 1987 Classics
Set immediately prior to the trial and execution of Socrates in 399 BC, Theaetetus shows the great philosopher considering the nature of knowledge itself, in a debate with the geometrician Theodorus and his young follower Theaetetus. Their dialogue covers many questions, such as: is knowledge purely subjective, composed of the ever-changing flow of impressions we receive from the outside world? Is it better thought of as 'true belief'? Or is it, as many modern philosophers argue, 'justified true belief', in which the belief is supported by argument or evidence? With skill and eloquence, Socrates guides the debate, drawing out the implications of these theories and subjecting them to merciless and mesmerising criticism. One of the founding works of epistemology, this profound discussion of the problem of knowledge continues to intrigue and inspire.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (26 Mar 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444506
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Plato (c.427-347 BC) was one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. He was disgusted by the corruption of Athenian political life, and the execution of his teacher Socrates. He sought cures for the ills of society in philosophy, and became convinced that those ills would not cease until philosophers became rulers, or rulers philosophers.

Robin Waterfield has translated various Greek philosophical texts, and was once a commissioning editor for Penguin.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good translation with Stephanus numbers 4 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great translation of one of Plato's most complex books. This is never going to be the easiest of reads, but the translator makes a great attempt to make it accessible, and bar one or two areas which require really close attention this is a fairly straightforward read. He has an extensive essay at the end of the book, which is helpful, but not perfect.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Early Study of Epistemology 14 Aug 2009
By Eric Mayforth - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What is knowledge? That is the issue taken up in "Theaetetus", this dialogue from ancient Greece which is one of the seminal investigations of epistemology, the study of knowledge. In the dialogue, Socrates, Theodorus, and Theaetetus examine whether everyone's individual perceptions can be regarded as knowledge, or if knowledge must consist of either a true belief or a true belief plus a rational account.

The interlocutors do not reach a definitive conclusion concerning what knowledge is, but the dialogue is still well worth reading in the English-speaking world in the early twenty-first century, a place and time in which it is hotly debated whether truth and knowledge are absolute or relative. The final half of this volume is an interpretive essay by Robin Waterfield that discusses the dialogue and its implications, in many places comparing "Theaetetus" with other Platonic works.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Founding Epistemology 4 Sep 2009
By Steiner - Published on
Plato's Theatetus is considered the originary work of epistemological inquiry. Wittgenstein looked to this dialogue as a major source for epistemological problematics in his later philosophy, and it continues to be studied in the continental tradition as well. Socrates and Theatetus attempt to resolve the problem of defining knowledge-first by examining knowledge as a a mode of perception, then through in investigation of knowledge as correct judgment. Socrates and Theatetus give an account of the true role of 'legein' logos and speech in the final sections of the dialogue. Although nothing is resolved the basic problems of epistemology are formulated, and they remain alive to the present day.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledgeable 27 Dec 2013
By toronto - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent edition of the Theatetus, with a fine translation and a painstaking commentary/essay. The only drawback is the separation of the essay from the text, which either means having two copies (this is somewhat easier using the online Kindle version doubled up) or a lot of shifting back and forth. The commentary is particularly worthwhile when one hits the seriously slogging part towards the end.

The Theatetus is notable as Plato's attempt to separate out epistemological justification from ontology (in the earlier dialogues true knowledge is grasping the Forms, whereas here things are more complicated, probably due to the undermining of the Forms paradigm in the Parmenides, and after).
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