If you’re considering a career in philosophy, a course on Plato’s Theaetetus may be right for you. This work is a masterpiece of Greek philosophy, and is considered to be the most influential work of the classical period. Here are some things to keep in mind when reading this text. In addition to its philosophical importance, it is also an important study in the field of ethics. Read on to learn more.
In Theaetetus, Plato explains the concept of knowledge as a process that begins with the creation of syllables. Names are the first elements of a syllable, and when they are combined into words, they form a definition. The first syllable, SO, consists of two letters: a sibilant and a vowel.
Platon’s theory of flux is a Platonic concept, and this is why the Socratic rejection of a universal flux is a critical step. In fact, this rejection is not a direct refutation of the theory of flux itself, but a criticism of the method used by Platonists in the pursuit of knowledge. Francisco Lisi notes this by pointing to the parallels in Timaeus 49c-e and Tht. 159c-160c, where the general idea of flux is discussed.
The dialogue introduces Theaetus as dying near Corinth, which refers to a battle in 369 BCE. Scholars prefer to refer to it as the Battle of Corinth. This dialogue, which was written soon after Theaetetus’ death, is a tribute to his memory and is set to be included in a volume that accompanies the Statesman and Sophist.
Theaetetus makes a counter-argument to Socrates’ argument that knowledge involves true belief. But how can someone form a true opinion without knowledge? Luckily, there are ways to do this. The most important way is to remember that the truth of a proposition depends on how true it is, and whether it is a fact or an opinion. That is why Plato argued that there is a paradox between a true opinion and a false opinion.
In Theaetetus, Socrates discusses the distinction between a philosophical and a worldly mentality. He criticizes the empiricist view of knowledge and anticipates the views of the 17th century English philosophers. He also attempts to develop a complete system of physics. Theaetetus’ life is cut short when he is killed in a battle between Corinth and Athens in 369 BCE.
Students studying Theaetus in plato philosophy face special challenges. While they may have difficulty trusting Plato’s account of Protagoras theory, they must determine whether it is an ad-hoc opinion of the author or not. This is a particularly tough question, given the dramatic nature of the work. Socrates is more likely to be a great philosopher than a mere mortal.
In the Aegetic dialogue, Theodorus is an untrustworthy character. His parents have a history of misdeeds and he has lost the ability to deceive. This character, who is a guardian, is a ‘runaway’ from philosophy. He is too enamored with his own mathematics and is not ready to answer questions about the roots of knowledge. However, he does readily accept the words of Socrates.
In the dialogue, Protagoras answers Plato’s questions with his observations on verbal criticism and the way people should understand their opponents. The Dialectic distinction, which is a major part of Plato’s criticism of Protagoras, is a direct result of the way he answers questions, but not a source of truth. The dialogues of the Platonic school are dramatized through multiple speakers, and the contrast between their viewpoints is often the source of the work’s interest.
The philosopher has a great talent for drawing distinctions and predicting the consequences of his own answers, but he has yet to make the transition from mathematics to metaphysics. Though he has an inability to count, he nevertheless thinks that arithmetic would have removed his senseless vanity. The vulgar, who mock him for his lack of knowledge, perceive him as ignorant, and always at a loss.
Protagoras, in contrast, seeks to adapt himself to worldly opinions, and thereby despises the idea of truth. But, Plato aims for higher levels of duty and knowledge. The notion of good, and all of its virtues, are grounded on the notion of goodness. Socrates’ statement, “All things are temporary”, he argues, is inconsistent with the Heraclitean foundation.