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Theaetetus (Oxford World's Classics) [Kindle Edition]

John McDowell , Lesley Brown

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Book Description

What exactly is knowledge?'

The Theaetetus is a seminal text in the philosophy of knowledge, and is acknowledged as one of Plato's finest works. Cast as a conversation between Socrates and a clever but modest student, Theaetetus, it explores one of the key issues in philosophy: what is knowledge? Though no definite answer is reached, the discussion is penetrating and wide-ranging, covering the claims of perception to be knowledge, the theory that all is in motion, and the perennially tempting idea that
knowledge and truth are relative to different individuals or states. The inquirers go on to explore the connection between knowledge and true judgement, and the famous threefold definition of knowledge as justified true belief. Packed with subtle arguments, the dialogue is also a work of literary genius, with an
unforgettable portrait of Socrates as a midwife of wisdom.

This new edition uses the acclaimed translation by John McDowell. It includes a valuable introduction that locates the work in Plato's oeuvre, and explains some of the competing interpretations of its overall meaning. The notes elucidate Plato's arguments and draw connections within the work and with other philosophical discussions.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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About the Author

John McDowell taught at University College, Oxford before moving to Pittsburgh in 1986. He was the John Locke Lecturer at the University of Oxford in 1991. His publications include Mind and World (1994), Mind, Value, and Reality (1998), and Meaning, Knowledge, and Reality (1998), all Harvard University Press. His edition of Plato's Theaetetus was published in the Clarendon Plato series in 1973.

Lesley Brown was Centenary Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Somerville College, and a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford; she is now an emeritus fellow. She has published widely on Plato's dialogues, notably the Theaetetus and Sophist, as well as on Aristotle. She wrote the Introduction and Notes for the new edition of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in OWC (2009).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 669 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199646163
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (1 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I6I8N20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #841,272 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Plato (c. 427-347 BC), was an Athenian philosopher-dramatist. Born into a wealthy and prominent family, he grew up during the conflict between Athens and the Peloponnesian states which engulfed the Greek world from 431 to 404 BC. Following its turbulent aftermath, he was deeply affected by the condemnation and execution of his revered master Socrates (469-399) on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young. In revulsion from political activity, Plato devoted his life to the pursuit of philosophy. Plato founded the Academy, an early ancestor of the modern university, devoted to philosophical and mathematical enquiry, and to the education of future rulers or 'philosopher-kings'. The Academy's most celebrated member was the young Aristotle (384-322), who studied there for the last twenty years of Plato's life. Their works mark the highest peak of philosophical achievement in antiquity, and both continue to rank among the greatest philosophers of all time.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars What is knowledge? 4 July 2015
By Jordan Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Most of Plato's works are conversations in which Socrates tries to find a precise definition of some word that people assume they understand. For example, the Euthyphro is about "what is holiness?", the Charmides is about "what is temperance?", and the Republic is about "what is justice?" (and justifies why it is proper to be just). The Theaetetus is about "what is knowledge?" To benefit from reading Plato one should carefully choose the translation one uses and I like this one by McDowell. For a thorough study of the dialogue by someone who doesn't read Attic Greek, Cornford also wrote translations of the Theaetetus and the Sophist that are likely excellent like all Cornford's works, and there is a celebrated commentary on the Theaetetus by Burnyeat attached to Levett's translation.

Now professional philosophers like to play games about whether knowledge is justified true belief (look up the "Gettier problem"), similar to asking whether some particular action is right, like diverting a train to hit one man and thus save many, rather than working out a coherent view of what it means to know. In the Theaetetus Plato perhaps connects knowledge to his theory of Forms: in 186d, "So knowledge is located, not in our experiences, but in our reasoning about those things we mentioned; because it's possible, apparently, to grasp being and truth in the latter, but impossible in the former." A bold reading of this is that the objects of knowledge are not sensible objects but Forms. Plato also gives two metaphors for knowing, the "imprint-receiving piece of wax in our minds" (191) and a "sort of aviary for birds of every kind" (197). Plato certainly does not mean that these are true mechanical models of knowing, but using metaphors like these feels to me like cognitive science and neuroscience.
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