- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (March 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0872207609
- ISBN-13: 978-0872207608
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading Plato's Theaetetus
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Timothy Chappell's Reading Plato's Theaetetus offers a translation of the Theaetetus, presented in small chunks of texts preceded by a summary and followed by in-depth analysis of the passages. The text would be an excellent companion to an upper level undergraduate course or graduate course on the Theaetetus, and is an invaluable resource for anyone working in this range of Plato's dialogues. . . . This translation is a major accomplishment in terms of style and accuracy, and it is a pleasure to read. . . . Timothy Chappell's Reading Plato's Theaetetus is a first-rate piece of scholarship that will be of great service to students of the dialogue for years to come. --G. S. Bowe, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Those who come fresh to the Theaetetus will find plenty of help in Timothy Chappell's volume, which addresses the sorts of questions likely to be asked by an intelligent reader--especially one unfamiliar with Plato's manner of writing philosophy--and does its job in a fresh and stimulating way. --Christopher Rowe, University of Durham
About the Author
Timothy Chappell is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Dundee, UK.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chappell’s commentary primarily address one of the most important questions about the “Theaetetus,” did Plato alter (“revise”) his theory of knowledge by the time he began writing this dialogue, or does the dialogue fit into the context of what Plato had said previously about the nature of knowledge. This is not particularly clear, because this dialogue serves as a negative project, in the sense that Plato explains what knowledge cannot be, and what kind of models we cannot use when thinking about knowledge. The debate among scholars is called the debated between Revisionists and Unitarians. Chappell makes his sympathy with Unitarians plan, which is appreciable, seeing as how so many scholars try to pretend they have no disposition, or hardly ever making clear what that disposition is on a particular topic. No such duplicity will be found here, on Chappell’s part. His clarity is to be valued.
As far as the text, per se, I cannot recommend it enough as one of the more important of Plato’s dialogues. A really good lead-in to reading this dialogue would be to read the “Meno,” “Phaedo,” the end of Book VI and the beginning of Book VII in the “Republic,” and possibly the “Timaeus.” Between these, this particular text will be a bit easier to understand in terms of Plato’s gist, since he obviously has something in mind by the time he makes it to the writing of this text. Not only are Plato’s wax tablet and aviary models of knowledge classic (and very, very fun) analogies for thinking about knowledge, but models like these pop up again and again in the Western philosophical tradition. In some respects, this texts gives, in my opinion, a primordial explication of the sorts of problems that will motivate Immanuel Kant to write his magnum opus, the “Critique of Pure Reason,” just to give some idea of how this dialogue sets a very important stage. Finally, I think the text is interesting because it address and gives some idea about two very important sets of philosophies which have been lost to time, that of Protagoras and that of Heraclitus. Plato spends quite a bit of time refuting points of both of these philosophers, allowing us to get a sense of what they may have thought. (Few fragments of either philosopher remain, so it is a nice look at the prehistory of human thought and philosophy.) Chappell’s supplementary comments go a long way helping the reader, especially the complete neophyte, understand what these philosophers’ doctrines were on the basis of what Plato says about them.
Overall, I recommend this to all, so long as there is even a passing interest. Scholars, grad students, undergrads, and high schoolers will gain much from this text and supplementary commentary. I also think that a philologist or a classicist will gain much from some of the points Chappell makes pertaining to the translation of various words.
If you are not going to buy the “Plato: Complete Works,” then I definitely recommend this edition of the “Theaetetus” over all others, and I recommend it for anyone seeking a commentary in addition to said volume.