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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

on 4 March 2012
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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on 13 March 2016
Written in the 4th century BC, "Theaetetus" is Plato’s enquiry into the nature of knowledge, and is considered as the start of a new branch in philosophy: epistemology. Although there are some memorable images presented in the story ranging from Socrates as a midwife, the absent-minded professor, the wax tablet and the aviary, I found this a rather technical, complicated and therefore difficult read. As a result, it left me at times as bewildered as Theaetetus himself.

As in many other dialogues, the Sophists and Pre-Socratics are never far away in Plato. This time Socrates uses the ideas of Protagoras, Heraclitus and Parmenides to makes his points. As so often in the dialogues, it seems that Plato is the measure of all things by undermining other people’s claims, but providing no real alternative himself. He does have a good go at it though, paving the way for 2,500 years of epistomology.

As always, Plato gives the reader a lot to do, and nowhere more so than in “Theaetetus”. However, I found Robin Waterfield’s essay on the dialogue helpful, although hard going at times. In addition, I liked the fact that the explanatory notes were at the bottom of each page, instead of normally at the end of the dialogues. Finally, listening to Peter Adamson’s podcast and reading his accompanying book, Classical Philosophy: A history of philosophy without any gaps, Volume 1 made “Theaetetus” a bit more accessible, and made me appreciate why this dialogue is still being studied today.
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