- Hardcover: 216 pages
- Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (June 24, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199267030
- ISBN-13: 978-0199267033
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,778,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Midwife of Platonism: Text and Subtext in Plato's Theaetetus 1st Edition
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"The Midwife of Platonism by David Sedley is an enjoyable book to read. It is elegant and engaging, a refreshingg reconsideration of the relation of Plato to Socrates...I reccommend [it] to anyone with an interest in the Theaetetus and in the perennial question of Socrates."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
About the Author
David Sedley is Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, University of Cambridge.
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The Theaetetus is the last dialogue that features the sparkling personality of Socrates as an integral part of the dialogue. Here Socrates uses his familiar skills of cross-examination to great critical effect. But as in the early Socratic dialogues, he comes up short of his goal. No definition of knowledge meets his strict requirements. Sedley sees this as reflecting the true Socrates, whose arguments cleared the ground for the sophisticated metaphysics of Plato. Thus Socrates functions as a midwife, a person who helps in the birth of a new being. In this case the new being is Platonic metaphysics. Sedley sees Socrates as necessary but not sufficient for the new absolutest realism of Plato. Socrates condemned the instability and relativism of the Sophists, but it took the metaphysical insights of Plato to put Socratic ethics on a firm foundation.
Who will benefit from this fine work of Plato scholarship? Beginning students of Plato should not start here. They are best served studying the early Socratic dialogues and especially the Republic. Intermediate students of Plato may tackle the Theaetetus, but many will find it rough going. Advanced undergraduates and graduate students of Plato will find Sedley's book helpful and rewarding.