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Theaetetus: The Being of the Beautiful 1

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,006 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Statesman are a trilogy of Platonic dialogues that show Socrates formulating his conception of philosophy as he prepares the defense for his trial. Originally published together as The Being of the Beautiful, these translations can be read separately or as a trilogy. Each includes an introduction, extensive notes, and comprehensive commenta ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published June 15th 1986 by University of Chicago Press (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
Melika Khoshnezhad
ته ئه تتوس یکی از مکالمات نسبتا طولانی و تاحدی سخته افلاطون درباره ی «معرفت شناسی» یا به بیان بهتر اپیستمولوژیه. یکی از محاوراتی که در نهایت هم به نتیجه نمی رسه و فقط مشخص می کنه معرفت نه ادراک حسی است نه پندار درستی که با توضیح و تعریف همراهه. چیزی که جالبه هم شاید این نباشه که در نهایت بفهمی حقیقتا معنای چیزی که انقدر برای ما بدیهیه و صرفا ازش استفاده می کنیم رو نمی دونیم ، و تنها زمانی متوجه می شویم که واقعا نمی دونستیم داشتیم از چی استفاده می کردیم که کسی ازمون بپرسه حالا این کاری که کردی یع ...more
Jul 26, 2014 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
Roy Lotz
Feb 27, 2014 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
May 17, 2014 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
Mar 15, 2012 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.

Richard Newton
Apr 30, 2013 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.
Oct 18, 2008 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
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.
Apr 19, 2015 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.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're still looking for answers in philosophy, boy are you barking at the wrong tree.
Karl Hallbjörnsson
the dialogues are remarkable not for their philosophical content but for the form of the discourse itself
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I bought this many years ago, but was finally motivated to read it because of Jo Walton's The Just City. It's often quite difficult, and Robin Waterfield's commentary is far easier to understand than the Theaetetus itself. Still, this is a fascinating book and it's revived my interest in philosophy.
Jun 25, 2011 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
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 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
Sam Dodge
Sep 17, 2013 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
May 09, 2012 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
Douglas Dalrymple
Aug 26, 2014 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
Kyle van Oosterum
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The purpose of this dialogue is to discover what knowledge is. This was one of Plato's aporetic dialogues meaning that they argued and came up with nothing. More accurately, they tore down every hitherto believed opinion about knowledge and left us with nothing in its place. Socrates whose mother was a midwife, plays the midwife in this dialogue trying to help the intellectual Theaetetus give birth to the true definition of knowledge. However, Socrates also recalls in his mother's line of work t ...more
Harry Doble
A dialogue on the nature of knowledge. Socrates describes himself as a midwife who helps young men give birth to ideas lest they produce "wind eggs." The exchange is ostentatious and hammy as usual. A few things I really liked were an early discussion of the dream argument, a challenge to Protagoras's statement "man is the measure of all things", and the description of memory as like stamped impressions on a wax tablet.
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 04, 2014 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.
Jeenar ژینەر
بە ڕاشکاوی ئەفڵاتوون بە گومانە لە زانین، چەندی ئەیەوێ بیخاتە نێو خانەیکی دیاریکراو ناتوانێت ، سەردەکەوێت بە دیاریکردنی زانین چی نییە ، بەڵام لە گژ خۆیدا ناتوانێت دیاری بکات زانین چییە ، لە کۆتاییشدا هەر پەردەپۆشی دەکات و لێی دەگەڕێت .
بە دڵم بوو بەڵام تاقەتپڕووکێن بوو ، بۆی هەیە کاتەکەم باش نەبووبێ بۆ خوێندنەوەی.
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.
Dec 17, 2011 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.
Peter J.
Dec 24, 2015 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.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, dialogue
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.
Sotiris Makrygiannis
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: internet
the more I read Plato the more I super love Socrates. this book is about knowledge and the definition of it. why we don't have authors like him anymore? we despertly need to re discover the Greeks and their logic. nothing can be compared to it.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This dialogue took my brain out, stretched it, tied it in knots, and now it won't go back to the way it was. Thanks, Plato.
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  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • Philosophical Fragments
  • The Enneads
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Proslogion
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • The Discourses
  • Fragments
  • The New Organon
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
  • Essays on the Theory of Numbers
  • The Nature of the Gods
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون) (Alternate Spelling: Platón, Platone)
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 philosoph
More about Plato

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“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” 141 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” 3 likes
More quotes…