In this paper I argue that in the digression in Plato’s Theaetetus godlikeness may be construed as Socrates’ ethical achievement, part and parcel of his art of mental mid­wifery. Although the philosophical life of contemplation and detachment from earthly affairs exemplifies the human ideal of godlikeness, Socrates’ godlikeness is an inferior but legitimate species of the genus. This is the case because Socratic godlikeness abides by the two requirements for godlikeness that Socrates sets forth in the digression: first, it is a kind of escape from the phenomenal world; and second, it allows Socrates to become just and pious with wisdom. The crucial difference between Socrates and the philosopher that prevents the former from being as godlike as the latter is his epistemic barrenness, on account of which he cannot define the constitutive virtues of godlikeness, i.e., justice, piety, and wisdom. As a barren midwife of the intellect, Socrates practices godlikeness but does not have a philosophical understanding of its nature. Nevertheless, by extolling the life of the philosopher he urges others to aspire to what he can never attain, philosophical godlikeness
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2011_7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Does Socrates Claim to KNow That He Knows Nothing?Gail Fine - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 35:49-85.
Socrates and Self-Knowledge.Sara L. Rappe - 1995 - Apeiron 28 (1):1 - 24.
Virtue as "Likeness to God" in Plato and Seneca.Daniel C. Russell - 2004 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (3):241-260.
The Philosopher in Flight: The Digression (172C–177C) in the Theaetetus.Rachel Rue - 1993 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 11:71-100.
Philosophy as Performed in Plato's "Theaetetus".Eugenio Benitez & Livia Guimaraes - 1993 - Review of Metaphysics 47 (2):297 - 328.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Four Educators in Plato's Theaetetus.Avi I. Mintz - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (4):657-673.
Socrates in the Platonic Dialogues.Catherine Osborne - 2006 - Philosophical Investigations 29 (1):1–21.
The Philosophy of Socrates.Gregory Vlastos - 1971 - Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Books.
Plato’s Dionysian Music?: A Reading of the Symposium.Jacob Howland - 2007 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (1):17-47.


Added to PP index

Total views
80 ( #144,813 of 2,506,005 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,005 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes