2007 | 16 | 1(61) | 33-47
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Miniature Dialectics in Plato's 'Theatetus'

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The author raises the question about philosophical importance of a well known excerpt of the dialogue 'Teaetetus' which contains 'Socrates' dream' ('Teaitetus' 201d 12 – 206b 12). The prevailing interpretation of this dream is that some forms of immediate and intuitive insight into reality defy objective understanding (Gillespie, Hicken and Burnyeat) or that they resist scinetific analysis (Morow). The author argues that these readings are incorrect and proposes the view that the dream in the 'Teaitetus' is analogous to Plato's treatment of dialectics in the 'Parmenides' and the 'Sophist'. He contends that the theme of dialectics is characteristic for Plato's late dialogues.This interpretation is supported by considering what is knowledge 'per se' - a dialectical question, in the sense of dialectic expounded in the 6th and the 7th book of the Republic. The 'Teaetetus' does not provide an answer to this question, and the dialogue ends in a aporia for which neither Socrates, a philosopher who is accustomed to strict analysis, nor Teaetetus, who is a young matematician, can find a way out. This can be interpreted as an indication that knowledge must be understood dialecticaly, or as an ouitcome of a debate, and as such it cannot be presented clearly and distinctly in any other form but a dream.
  • P. Pasterczyk, Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, Instytut Filozofii Teoretycznej, Katedra Historii Filozofii Starozytnej i Sredniowiecznej, al. Raclawickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
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