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Plato's Theory of Knowledge: The Theatetus and The Sophist (Philosophical Classics) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (April 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486427633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486427638
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

About the Author

Plato ranks among the most familiar ancient philosophers, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle. In addition to writing philosophical dialogues — used to teach logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion, and mathematics as well as philosophy — he founded Athens' Academy, the Western world's first institution of higher learning.


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Kn. on March 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author credits for this book should really include Francis M. Cornford, the early 20th century classicist whose commentary accounts for more words in the text than do his translations of the actual dialogs. Some might find the constantly interjected commentary annoying - I found it very helpful. So much so that after reading "Plato's Theory of Knowledge", I purchased a used copy of Cornford's out-of-print "Plato and Parmenides", which I am still in the middle of reading. Between the two, they have much improved my understanding of the philosopher, Plato.

I am not a Platonist by any stretch of the imagination. When it comes to any of the subject matter of philosophy, I am constantly led to the simple conclusion that Plato was wrong - he wasn't right about anything! But Plato's importance in the history of philosophy is another matter, entirely. Where Cornford's books shine is in placing and interpreting Plato in his historical context, and showing how, in that context, Plato's ideas were insightful, even brilliant, and represented huge conceptual advances over what had gone before.

The three dialogs in these two books (the Parmenides, Theaetetus, and Sophist) show Plato acknowledging the immense debt he owed to two philosophers who had gone before - Heraclitus and Parmenides (the influence of the other great pre-Socratic, Pythagoras, in these dialogs is more subtle, but still detectable). The ideas of Heraclitus and Parmenides - both of whom still had followers in Plato's day - were ground breaking, but taken alone, either system had major problems. The relentless logic of Parmenides seemed to show that the perceptible world with its movement and diversity - all that we know - could be nothing but illusion.
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