The Midwife of Platonism: Text and Subtext in Plato's Theaetetus

Oxford University Press (2004)
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 his Socratic 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 comprehensive rereading 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 knowledge of Greek.
Keywords Plato   Socrates
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Call number B386.S78 2004
ISBN(s) 0199267030   9780199267033     0199267030
DOI 10.1111/j.0031-8094.2005.00423.x
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Avi I. Mintz (2011). Four Educators in Plato's Theaetetus. Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (4):657-673.
Fiona Leigh (2007). Platonic Dialogue, Maieutic Method and Critical Thinking. Journal of Philosophy of Education 41 (3):309–323.

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