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Ephemeris, the Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy

Abstract

The Theaetetus is a dialogue full of puzzles, not the least of which is the character of Socrates himself. While often considered the face of wisdom and knowledge in all of Plato’s works, in this work Socrates constantly proposes bad arguments, goes on long tangents, and leaves us with no definition of knowledge. If Socrates himself cannot be relied on, how can anyone hope to effectively do philosophy? Furthermore, if Socrates is not a proper philosopher himself, is there even one present in the dialogue? I argue that by examining three different ways of practicing philosophy in the Theaetetus,Socrates is shown to represent a single specific faculty of the philosopher, therefore practicing only one part of philosophy, explaining his shortcomings and thereby intimating a more robust Platonic philosophical method.

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