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Theatetus (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 4, 1987


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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation)

About the Author

Plato (c. 427–347 b.c.) founded the Academy in Athens, the prototype of all Western universities, and wrote more than twenty philosophical dialogues.


Robin Waterfield is a graduate of Manchester University and studied Greek philosphy at King's College, Cambridge. He is currently writing a major biography of Kahlil Gibran.
Robin Waterfield is a graduate of Manchester University and studied Greek philosphy at King's College, Cambridge. He is currently writing a major biography of Kahlil Gibran.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (August 4, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444506
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on August 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What is knowledge? That is the issue taken up in "Theaetetus", this dialogue from ancient Greece which is one of the seminal investigations of epistemology, the study of knowledge. In the dialogue, Socrates, Theodorus, and Theaetetus examine whether everyone's individual perceptions can be regarded as knowledge, or if knowledge must consist of either a true belief or a true belief plus a rational account.

The interlocutors do not reach a definitive conclusion concerning what knowledge is, but the dialogue is still well worth reading in the English-speaking world in the early twenty-first century, a place and time in which it is hotly debated whether truth and knowledge are absolute or relative. The final half of this volume is an interpretive essay by Robin Waterfield that discusses the dialogue and its implications, in many places comparing "Theaetetus" with other Platonic works.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on September 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Plato's Theatetus is considered the originary work of epistemological inquiry. Wittgenstein looked to this dialogue as a major source for epistemological problematics in his later philosophy, and it continues to be studied in the continental tradition as well. Socrates and Theatetus attempt to resolve the problem of defining knowledge-first by examining knowledge as a a mode of perception, then through in investigation of knowledge as correct judgment. Socrates and Theatetus give an account of the true role of 'legein' logos and speech in the final sections of the dialogue. Although nothing is resolved the basic problems of epistemology are formulated, and they remain alive to the present day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By toronto on December 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent edition of the Theatetus, with a fine translation and a painstaking commentary/essay. The only drawback is the separation of the essay from the text, which either means having two copies (this is somewhat easier using the online Kindle version doubled up) or a lot of shifting back and forth. The commentary is particularly worthwhile when one hits the seriously slogging part towards the end.

The Theatetus is notable as Plato's attempt to separate out epistemological justification from ontology (in the earlier dialogues true knowledge is grasping the Forms, whereas here things are more complicated, probably due to the undermining of the Forms paradigm in the Parmenides, and after).
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