Introducing Plato 's Theaetetus : A Dialogue About The Nature And / Or Limits Of Human Knowledge

969 Words Nov 23rd, 2015 4 Pages
Chapter 1: Introducing Plato’s Theaetetus

Plato’s Theaetetus is a dialogue centrally about the nature and/or limits of human knowledge (episteme). Episteme can be translated in many ways, such as knowledge-how, knowledge by acquaintance, knowledge that something is the case, etc. Plato is primarily interested in establishing that something exists, e.g. justice, and then understanding what that something is and why it is what it is. All of these claimants can be utilized for this purpose. While many of Plato’s dialogues deal with knowledge in different ways and in different contexts, the Theaetetus takes up this topic as central in all of its scope and generality. As Ronald Polansky notes, “Not only is the dialogue Plato’s principal treatment of knowledge, but it also comprises the first sustained investigation of the theme in the Western philosophical tradition.” Knowledge is inextricably tied to understanding or insight (gnosis). In a variety of contexts, such as in a theoretical component to a practice or craft (techne) or in a scientific system of study, Plato believes that knowledge consists in or requires understanding.
For Plato, ontology is inextricably tied to epistemology because his views about what there is are largely determined by ideas about how knowledge can be accounted for, and because his thinking about what knowledge is takes its character from convictions about what there is that is knowable. Thus, a requirement of knowledge is the understanding of…

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