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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,150 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
This series is intended to serve the needs of philosophers and students of philosophy interested in Plato in much the same way as those interested in Aristotle are served by the well-known Clarendon Aristotle Series. Each volume contains a new translation (usually of a single, medium-length dialogue), and exegetical and critical notes on the philosophical content and agrum ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published August 9th 2007 by (first published -369)
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Riku Sayuj

Epistemological Idiots

Here Plato engages with the concept of ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ as in many other dialogues, but Theaetetus is often hailed as ‘Plato’s most sustained study of epistemology,’ and is a deep investigation into the question ‘What is knowledge?’ As such, it is the founding document of what has come to be known as ‘epistemology’, as one of the most important branches of philosophy and went on to influence Aristotle, the Stoics and the modern geography of the field.

In com
Jul 26, 2014 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plato’s Theaetetus is one of his most important dialogues, a work that is fundamental to the field of epistomology or the study of how we know. In it Socrates discusses the subject of knowledge with the boy Theaetetus and his teacher of mathematics, Theodorus. In this complex work Plato explores not only his primary focus but touches upon a host of additional topics, drawing on the ideas of previous and contemporary philosophers. This makes the work often seem highly digressive but nonetheless p ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Matthieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Next to Parmenides, this is probably the most rigourous/'difficult' Platonic dialogue. It might also be the most frustrating, mainly due to the fact that the intellectual bandying-about does not yield any clear, definitive conclusion. The dialogue asks: What is knowledge?, Is knowledge perception? (T.'s response), and, Can one have knowledge of knowledge? In a forest of ideas and assertions (along with some brilliant metaphors on the part of Socrates (midwifery)), no answer is to be found.

May 01, 2016 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oldie-but-goodie
The more I read Plato, the more I wonder how much I’m missing through translation. Of course, something is always lost when a work is taken out of its native tongue. But the arguments in Plato’s dialogues often hinge on specific verbal formulas and definitions, and so I imagine the problem of translation is especially acute in this case. But I’m not about to learn Ancient Greek any time soon.

This is by far the most conceptually hairy dialogue of Plato I’ve so far read. Some sections are damn nea
Le Théétète n'est pas aussi aussi ardu que Parménide, mais il reste assez exigeant, et il faut rester concentrer pour suivre Socrate dans toutes ses subtilités. Tous les dialogues de Platon ne sont pas faciles d’accès. A son habitude, Socrate perturbe les certitudes de ses amis en les poussant à analyser les conséquences de leurs opinions. On est payé de la perte de ses illusions par celles de ses préjugés.
Richard Newton
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is a great translation of one of Plato's most complex and interesting 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.
Jul 08, 2011 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knowing that Theaetetus is one dialogue in a trilogy with Sophist and Statesman following it, and with Parmenides prior and linked to the trilogy, and having struggled through the almost impenetrable Parmenides, I was apprehensive about Theaetetus but then pleasantly surprised when I read it. After Parmenides, Theaetetus seems like a hybrid of Plato’s early, middle and late periods (assuming this division). It’s a bit more genuine dialogue as opposed to monologue, it has more humor and irony (in ...more
Oct 18, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is much harder work than your average Socratic Dialogue by Plato. I found I really had to concentrate on some of the twists in the argument and have to say that I found some of the footnotes quite distracting in this edition. As someone who does not read Ancient Greek – part of the reason I’m reading Plato in translation – it is a little hard to know why my reading needs to be interrupted to be told the translator is reading some word in Ancient Greek as it is in the manuscript.

I got half
Apr 21, 2015 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Unlike some of the other dialogues this one doesn't feel like a verbal sparring match. One gets the feeling that the speakers are generally attempting to discover what they claim to be attempting to discover rather than simply win an argument. The dialogue is basically an inspection of the question "what is knowledge," the question of epistemology. We'll worth the read.
Bob Nichols
Socrates uses Theaetetus to examine the question of “what is knowledge?” Various suggestions are made, which Socrates refutes. The dialogue concludes, it is said, negatively: We know what knowledge is not. Wisdom, and this is what Socrates means when he proclaims his ignorance, is to “be modest and not think you know what you don’t know.”

The Williams introduction gets into the details (weeds?) of Plato’s theory of knowledge, but does it miss the dialogue’s main point: Considering the whole of P
Oct 16, 2014 Brandt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a primer to talk about epistemology this book appears to do the trick. The only things is that unless you are familiar with the intricacies of Plato, and the ramblings of Socrates, this book poses some subtle complexities. Overall, it is important to note that the arguments, when investigated outside of the reading itself, are pretty good. The problem comes with the frustration of answering the question of the nature of knowledge. This seems like a simple question, yet it does get quite amusi ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Laertes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Interesting; packed with knowledge--I cannot recall all the various arguments and refutations, but through this I shall be better equipped as a midwife for my self.

Not as obfuscating as I expected, but definitely as complex.

I'll re-read this in future. Good first book of the year.
Sam L
May 13, 2014 Sam L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting one this - contains Plato's formulation of the 'justified true belief' theory of knowledge (though strangely, Socrates voices some cryptic objection to it at the end). Also the classic rejoinder against Protagorean relativism: if man is the measure of all things and truth just reduces to opinion, then if it's my opinion that man is not the measure of things then that is true for me, so why should I take Protagorean relativism seriously? Zing! Most interesting of all are the tantal ...more
Dec 26, 2011 Marie-aimée rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fr, philosophy
Très intéressante étude des théories de Protagoras et l'homme "mesure de toute chose" et d'Héraclite, qui ne peut néanmoins se faire sans une initiation à Platon et une lecture minutieusement décomposée.
Karl Hallbjörnsson
the dialogues are remarkable not for their philosophical content but for the form of the discourse itself
Douglas Dalrymple
Aug 26, 2014 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“For wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.”

Reading even a little from Plato’s dialogues now and then may serve as a sort of mental palette cleanser. It is especially tonic during those unhappy intervals when you find the world at large has nothing to offer but fuel for cynicism. The Theaetetus is neither the easiest nor most enjoyable of the dialogues – and finally there is no answer for the question it addresses, on the nature of knowledge – but Socrates’ inte
Jul 01, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Theaetetus is an elaboration of the basic problem presented in Meno: how can we know something if we don't already know what that thing is? Doesn't something have to precede knowledge to tell us that what we "know" is true? The question that Theaetetus presents is similar to the "zetetic paradox" presented in Meno, but it is more specific and more compounded. Rather than the general question of how we know anything, it asks how do we know knowledge itself. After successfully dethroning relativit ...more
Dec 03, 2012 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeff Beebe
When reading Plato, there is always a sense of accomplishment upon nearing the conclusion of any of his dialogues. The same was true here. Theaetetus was very smooth in taking readers from knowledge defined as perception to knowledge as true judgment, and then to knowledge with a rational reason and definition, and finally to knowledge as "right opinion with knowledge of difference or of anything! And so, Theaetetus, knowledge is neither sensation nor true opinion, nor yet definition and explana ...more
Sam Dodge
Sep 17, 2013 Sam Dodge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently got into the Theaetetus and the Meno, two dialogues by Plato about knowledge. These are usually intended to convey the main conflict in the history of epistemology (knowledge) between the empiricists (think experience based) and the rationalists (logical deductions - thinkers like Plato and Descartes).
Let me say, it is a slog through most of the Theaetetus, where Plato does a favorite trick and has Socrates start talking with a student of another teacher asking him what is knowledge
Roxanne Russell
So if I write down everything my teacher says and publish it, I get to be the author?

Is knowledge perception? 1) Theaterus' claim
2) Protagorus' doctrine that man is the measure of all things 3) Heraclitus' theory of flux

---> supports Platonic doctrine that true reality is a non sensible realm of changeless being "The Forms"

Critique of three theses
1) each man is the measure of his own wisdom
2) everyone is equally wise
3) there is no such thing as wisdom
4) no one is wiser than anyone else

Hello philosophy. You've just convince me that I don't know what knowledge is.

Okay, not true, actually, you've pushed me in the direction I was already inclined to go, and my concept of knowledge is pretty much what it already had been.

Thus I am guilty once again of seeking out philosophy based on the presumption that it will confirm me in what I think I already know, rather than seeking to be corrected.

I'll think some more, though.
May 09, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: st-john-s-reads
This is another of my favorite Platonic dialogues not because of the discussion on perception and knowledge but because of the poetic language and imagery used throughout. Here's one of my favorite passages about the importance of a philosophic life:

"This is the way that belongs to each, Theodorus, one of them nurtured in his very being in freedom and leisure, the one whom you call a philosopher, who's blameless for seeming to be naive and of no account whenever he stumbles into slavish services
May 04, 2014 MagicKitty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, own-physical
A good philosophy book. I read it for a course in university. The book covers what exactly knowledge is, and takes you through with a dialogue. The back-forth style of writing is good, because you can see an idea be proposed, and then refuted/ corrected, slowly narrowing down what exactly knowledge is.

It's worth reading if you're interested in philosophy.
Oct 22, 2014 I-kai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it totally deserves five stars for one reason: Burnyeat has written the most accessible and at the same time in-depth review of scholarship that helps one find one's way through the labyrinth that is the Theaetetus. No, it certainly seems to miss the important dramatic element as to why Socrates was interested in talking to Theodorus, but one shouldn't demand everything from any interpretation or even an introduction to Plato.

Five stars also doesn't mean it's flawless. For one thing, Burnyeat us
Feb 20, 2012 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This is one of my favorite Platonic dialogues, and it was a joy to reread it for an SJC alumni seminar. The different images for how we store knowledge in our souls are beautiful, and I am somewhat sorry that they ultimately get discarded. I still think that the best definition offered is that it is "right judgment with an account", but in order to maintain it, I will need to figure out of what sort the requisite account is.
Moreover, at the end of the dialogue, the question which haunts me is "w
Oct 01, 2015 Lukerik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very fine translation that makes the arguments as clear as I think they can be and brings out the characters of the participants. It's the same Levett / Burnyeat text that you get in Cooper's Complete Works, but this edition has a thoughtful and thorough introduction and sensible notes.
Víctor Augusto
"Teeteto" nos mostra um diálogo de Sócrates, Teeteto e Teodoro no qual a maiêutica assume o protagonismo, enquanto os interlocutores elucubram sobre o ato de conhecer as coisas. Emerge aí uma discussão epistemológica curiosa, mas de hermética abordagem, tendo em vista o estilo de narrativa.
Peter J.
Dec 27, 2015 Peter J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding. The one section on the comparison between a philosopher and a lawyer, or really a man of any worldly profession, was extremely profound. I reread this section perhaps 5 times to hopefully burn it into my miserably unreliable memory.
Jacob Stubbs
So, I used this in my Ancient philosophy paper over (unsurprisingly) Plato's _Theaetetus_. I specifically focused on the Protagorean and Heraclitean themes within the first definition of knowledge as "perception." Burnyeat's commentary on the _Theaetetus_ was extremely helpful. That being said, I was very sad to see that he had not addressed Sarah Waterlow's commentary on the "dialectical nothingness" that is the Protagorean position. That criticism aside, Burnyeat's commentary was great.

Jan 22, 2009 Robby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ethic
A good introduction to various epistemological views, even-handed and usually lucid in its attempts to illuminate what "knowledge" is. Or rather, what it isn't. Although the dialogue is basically inconclusive, its characterization and imagery (particularly the "midwife" analogy) and Socrates' feats of philosopher-channeling self-rebuttal are entertaining enough to stave of frustration at Plato apparently treading water. Considering how admirably unbiased (yet not invariably inconclusive) Socrate ...more
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  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • The Enneads
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • Proslogion
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • The Discourses
  • The New Organon
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Fragments
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Essays on the Theory of Numbers
  • On Old Age, On Friendship & On Divination
  • Philoctetes
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most
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“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” 115 likes
“Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not. ~ Protagoras” 2 likes
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