The Midwife of Platonism: Text and Subtext in Platos Theaetetus

Paperback | July 27, 2006

byDavid SedleyAs told byDavid Sedley

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Plato's Theaetetus is an acknowledged masterpiece, and among the most influential texts in the history of epistemology. Since antiquity it has been debated whether this dialogue was written by Plato to support his familiar metaphysical doctrines, or represents a self-distancing from these.David Sedley's book offers a via media, founded on a radical separation of the author, Plato, from his main speaker, Socrates. The dialogue, it is argued, is addressed to readers familiar with Plato's mature doctrines, and sets out to show how these doctrines, far from being an abandonment of hisSocratic heritage, are its natural outcome. The Socrates portrayed here is the same Socrates as already portrayed in Plato's early dialogues. While not a Platonist, he is exhibited - to put it in terms of an image made famous by this dialogue - as having been Platonism's midwife. In a comprehensiverereading of the text, Sedley tracks the ways in which Socrates is shown unwittingly preparing the ground for Plato's mature doctrines, and reinterprets the dialogue's individual arguments from this perspective. The book is addressed to all readers interested in Plato, and does not require knowledgeof Greek.

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Plato's Theaetetus is an acknowledged masterpiece, and among the most influential texts in the history of epistemology. Since antiquity it has been debated whether this dialogue was written by Plato to support his familiar metaphysical doctrines, or represents a self-distancing from these.David Sedley's book offers a via media, founded...

David Sedley is at Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, University of Cambridge.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.47 inPublished:July 27, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199204144

ISBN - 13:9780199204144

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Table of Contents

1. Opening moves2. 'Knowledge is perception'3. Relativism4. Perception5. Falsity puzzles6. AccountsBibliographyIndex locorumGeneral index

Editorial Reviews

`'David Sedley is one of my favourite philosophical authors. Everything he writes is fresh, bold, interesting, provocative, sensitive, sympathetic, and a delight to read. He often makes interesting use of his considerable knowledge of the middle platonists.''Gail Fine, The Philosophical Quarterly