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These are roughly i the idea explicitly dealt with in the Protagoras part of the Theaetetus according to which knowledge is the same as perception, ii the idea that when I perceive, the object of my perception is a sense-datum in my mind, iii 'Ideationism' Chappell's term , according to which "when I perceive something, Socrates for example, my perception of Socrates leaves a perceptual 'echo' in my mind: an idea or mental image of Socrates: a picture in my head", and "any idea is a picture in the head, immediately and incorrigibly available to the mind", and iv 'Associationism', according to which "thinking about Socrates will be associating [a] mental image with other mental images, e.

According to Chappell, Plato agrees that perceptions, which are like sense-data, are in themselves infallible, but this is because in perception, we have incorrigible direct acquaintance with experienced particulars, awareness of sense-data pp. But beyond this, perception does not give us sufficient content to explain how beliefs are about anything.

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As Chappell puts it,. Plato asks: What sort of association between ideas of this sort could possibly amount to our meaning anything, e. How, in fact, can the empiricist explain our ability to make any judgement or form any belief at all? According to Chappell, Plato's basic argument is that the empiricist has no way to explain how we get semantic content out of sense-data. It will come as a surprise to many readers that this is the implicit lesson of the Theaetetus , but Chappell tries to show that the attentive reader will come to see it by working through the details of the dialogue.

With the first definition of knowledge as perception, Plato's aim is to show that this definition implies and is implied by Protagoras' homomensura doctrine, which in turn implies and is implied by the doctrine of Heraclitean flux.

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He argues that Plato's aim is not, however, to show that Protagoreanism and Heracliteanism are absurd -- for he thinks that Plato accepts them in the limited sphere of perception -- but simply to show that they have limited application, i. As he puts it, what is plausible as an account of what can be perceived is not plausible as an account of what can be known p. Chappell states this without much argument or explanation, and the reader is left to guess whether he means to endorse the phenomenalist interpretation, according to which everything is simply constructed of bundles of sense-data in which case I would have wanted some reply to Lesley Brown's criticisms of this position [2] , and whether he thinks the flux theorist and Plato, at least as far as perceptual reality goes is some kind of idealist.

On the self-refutation argument against Protagorean relativism pp. For nothing Protagoras can say gives us reasons to be persuaded; all his statements are like subjective reports. On the refutation of Heraclitean flux, Chappell rejects as a fallacy the idea that the problem is that there can be no stable reidentifications of the properties of things. Rather, the problem is that if everything is in flux, then meanings are in flux too p. This suggestion is put forward without much supporting argument or evidence.

On my understanding of the text, Plato has Socrates say that qualities like whiteness and perceivings like perceiving white are themselves subject to change -- in particular, changing from being white to being not-white, and from perceiving white to not perceiving white, respectively. He nowhere says that the meaning of the term 'whiteness' or 'perceiving' is undergoing change; rather, it is the phenomenal offspring of each perceptual encounter that undergoes change. Chappell's discussion of the final refutation of the definition of knowledge as perception is somewhat abbreviated; he thinks that on Plato's view, perception is infallible, but judgments made about immediate sensory awareness are not.

He does not say much about c6, which states, as he puts it, that 'the capacity to grasp truth s presupposes the capacity to use the concept "is"'. Much has been written on whether the capacity to use the concept 'is' requires knowledge of the Forms, or is simply a reference to the fact that truths require statements that say something about how the world is, i. He endorses the former, although without much explanation of what the claim means pp.

In Plato's discussion of the second definition of knowledge as true belief, his aim is, again, to show the limitations of an empiricist approach to knowledge.

Plato - Theaetetus

Chappell doesn't explain why an empiricist in particular would want to endorse the definition of knowledge as true belief. But he does address Socrates' odd digression -- namely, the five attempts to explain how false belief is possible.

He does not think that Plato is himself puzzled about how false belief is possible. Rather, he presents them as puzzles for some unnamed opponent who holds views -- not specified by Plato -- which imply that false belief is not possible. So, for example, with respect to the first puzzle, Chappell writes,. And the problem is that if you begin with inert objects of perception and thought -- awarenesses or sense-data -- then it is not possible to think of an object and at the same time represent it incorrectly to oneself.

In general, what Plato is trying to show here, according to Chappell, is that the empiricist explanation of belief is hopeless —.

Plato’s Theaetetus - Classics - Oxford Bibliographies

In modern terms, we need irreducible semantic properties. In Plato's terms, we need the Forms. Again, the problem, for the empiricist, is 'how we get from unstructured, contentless, and non-referring collections of mental images to semantically-structured, contentful, and reference-making beliefs' p. This approach clearly aspires to go beyond the uncontroversial acknowledgement of the rich intertextuality and web of philosophical resonances interconnecting virtually all the Platonic works.

According to Giannopoulou, Socrates' defence speech in the Apology 'serves as the subtext which informs [Plato's] exploration of knowledge in Theaetetus ' 3 and 'offers a dramatically apt and comprehensive framework that unifies the dialogue and explains many of its puzzles' 4. She describes the Theaetetus as 'a philosophically sophisticated elaboration of Apology that successfully differentiates Socrates from the sophists' by 'enacting' their distinction: it represents Socrates as a barren 'mental midwife' 2 who practises the craft of testing and discarding the sophists' inconsistent teachings about knowledge which Theaetetus unreflectively espoused.

The suggestion that the Apology 'informed' the theme of the Theaetetus , and the latter is an 'elaboration' of the former, is difficult to reconcile with Giannopoulou's over-cautious disavowal of any assumption about issues of chronology and development 'the phrase "second Apology " of the title bears no chronological connotations; it is used synonymously with the phrase "another Apology " 3. The apologetic vein running through the Theaetetus and the intertextuality with the Apology have been noticed and discussed by several scholars before Giannopoulou, and especially by Anthony Long in his article on 'Plato's Apologies and Socrates in the Theaetetus ', clearly a source of inspiration for her approach.

How successful her attempt is in making this the key for a novel interpretation of the Theaetetus will be judged on the basis of how systematic and effective a tool the 'interweaving' with the Apology turns out to be when reading the dialogue as a whole. A short conclusion summarises Giannopoulou's results, followed by a bibliography and a unified index of names and topics no index locorum is given. Giannopoulou's analysis of the prologue sets the tone for the rest of the book. It exemplifies the 'frequent deployment of proleptic strategies' that she describes, perhaps with some degree of overstatement, as 'the most innovative methodological feature' of her study: 'some sections look forward internally to subsequent passages, while others glance backward to earlier sections' She argues that the prologue programmatically anticipates three key themes that will be broached in the main dialogue: the process of oral or written transmission and reception of information, and its limits as a source of knowledge; time and the importance of its continuity for the very possibility of dialectic and expertise; memory and its epistemic reliability.

The focus on the philosophical relevance of the prologue is laudable, although the identification of these themes is not new. What I found less convincing is Giannopoulou's interpretation of the significance of the proleptic hints disseminated in the prologue. For example, she takes Euclides' choice of the form of direct dialogue, and his account of the careful process by which he came to write down the conversation reported by Socrates, as Plato's ways 'to signal that the source of the written word is Socrates himself' This was meant by Plato to eclipse his own role as the author, and to create an 'illusion of timelessness' 22 , intimating the directness, accuracy and completeness of our access to Socrates' voice But one might argue that the choice of the direct dialogue form, without the prologue's narrative framing, would have been fitter to the purpose, and that the prologue actually puts into sharp relief the problem of our complex access to the original Socrates, and perhaps the question of whether and why this problem matters.

Giannopoulou does not explain why her reading of the prologue's implications should be preferable to the opposite one I have summarily sketched, nor does she ask other essential questions, such as why Plato chose the Megarians Euclides and Terpsion as the dramatis personae in the prologue. First-time readers of the Theaetetus will also find some of her 'proleptic' references difficult to grasp.

This is for the most part unavoidable, as she herself warns, but some fuller and less allusive way of referring forward to later passages in the Theaetetus , and more generous cross-referencing to later sections and chapters of her book, could have helped. Giannopoulou's attention to intertextual and background connections between the Theaetetus and the Apology in particular, and Plato's corpus as a whole, is the other declared cornerstone of her methodology. Early in the monograph we observe the risks of too cavalier a handling of this approach, when she claims that Socrates could not 'obtain a definition of knowledge from the contenders to knowledge with whom he associates', and that since 'a definitional statement of what knowledge is.

Giannopoulou has imported and adapted into our text Socrates' claim, in the Apology , that all the presumed experts he has questioned have been unable to give an account of their expertise. More importantly, Socrates' 'implicit challenge' exists only if we attribute to him the assumptions, not present in the passage, or indeed in the Theaetetus , that knowledge of X requires a grasp of the definition of X, and that to have X one must know what X is or, at least, that to have knowledge of anything one must know what knowledge itself is. These are assumptions that Socrates seems to make in other dialogues cf.

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The section on the midwifery passage a revised version of an article published in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy in is obviously pivotal for Giannopoulou's project: 'Socrates' belief in the divine underpinnings of mental midwifery constitutes Theaetetus ' answer to Meletus' charge of atheism in the Apology 54 '. Fowler translations from the Loeb Classical Library, of Theaetetus's arguments, are placed in italics, for comparison. Excerpt from "Theaetetus" D - B. This is a somewhat literal translation of the passage where Theaetetus excitedly describes his approach, when bumping into something that doesn't fit, the incommensurable.

He is happy to tackle a new idea, even if only, initially, to identify something that he doesn't know. Theaetetus: "Concerning powers [1] , Theodorus [2] drew for us somehow like this , showing the powers of [3] both the three-foot and the five-foot, with respect to length, are not commensurate with the foot; and, thus, selecting out each one, up to the power of seventeen. And, in this way, more or less, he had it.

Theaetetus: Theodorus here was drawing some figures for us in illustration of roots, showing that squares containing three square feet and five square feet are not commensurable in length with the unit of the foot, and so, selecting each one in i ts turn up to the square containing seventeen square feet; and at that he stopped.

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Now it occurred to us, since the number of roots appeared to be infinite, to try to collect them under one name, by which we could henceforth call all the roots. Theaetetus : "We divided all number into two. The one able to become or to grow equal equally, we - likening the shape to a tetragon [4] - called it both tetragonal and equilateral. Theaetetus: We divided all number into two classes. The one, the numbers which can be formed by multiplying equal factors, we represented by the shape of the square and called square or equilateral numbers. Theaetetus: "Accordingly, the other one amongst this class of number - of which are both three and five, and all numbers that are unable to become or to grow equal equally, but become or grow either by less folds of a greater, or by more folds of a lesser, and always greater and lesser sides encompass it - so in turn, we, likening it to an elongated shape, name it an oblong number.

Theaetetus: The numbers between these, such as three and five and all numbers which cannot be formed by multiplying equal factors, but only by multiplying a greater by a less or a less by a greater, and are therefore always contained in unequal sides, we represented by the shape of the oblong rectangle a nd called oblong numbers. Theaetetus: "Which lines tetragonize the equilateral and planar number, we call length; and which tetragonize the mixed-length number , we call powers - since in length they are not commensurate with each other length , but are commensurate with the planar numbers which they have the power to form.

And concerning the solids, there is another explanation such as this.