Thoughts on Plato’s Statesman

Plato's Statesman is a largely unremarkable dialogue. Unlike its parallel dialogues with the explicit subject being political philosophy, such as the Republic or the Laws, the Statesman fails to cover the ground necessary to fully examine the topic, and its main subject matter may more appropriately be called political science. The dialogue picks up from where the Sophist leaves off. Socrates and the geometer, … Continue reading Thoughts on Plato’s Statesman

Considering Plato’s Sophist

The Sophist, a favorite of Martin Heidegger, begins without introduction and takes place the following morning after the end of the Theaetetus. Unlike the Theaetetus, it has no introduction from the Megarians many decades later. Theodorus, a a man who meets his obligations, opens the dialogue: "It is in accordance with yesterday's agreement..." (116 A). He has brought with … Continue reading Considering Plato’s Sophist

A Note on Temporality in the Theaetetus

Without drawing too closely from Heidegger, let us consider the pacing and timing of the Theaetetus. The dialogue is bookended by two very different temporal situations. The first words of the dialogue are: "Just now, Terpsion, or a long time ago...". We encounter Euclides and Terpsion mid-discussion in the agora in Megara. Terpsion responds that he … Continue reading A Note on Temporality in the Theaetetus

Why Theaetetus?

The Theaetetus is the first of seven dialogues chronologically leading up to the death of Socrates. It is an extraordinarily unique dialogue in the Platonic corpus. At the outset, the dialogue is framed as a conversation between Euclides and Terpsion from Megara around three decades after the initial conversation between Socrates and Theaetetus had originally taken place (When … Continue reading Why Theaetetus?

Outline of the Theaetetus

As Strauss notes, there are always three different layers to a Platonic dialogue. On the surface, the Theaetetus is a dialogue addressing the question of knowledge. Contextually within the larger series of dialogues, the Theaetetus is the first in a series leading up to the death of Socrates (Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, Crito, Phaedo). It is, first and … Continue reading Outline of the Theaetetus

Cratylus: Plato’s Dialogue on Language

In the character of Cratylus, we find a Platonic figure that most closely matches much of our contemporary philosophic challenge, namely the challenge posed by the Analytic philosophers. The dialogue is a dramatic piece, rather than a recounted story by either Socrates or another story-teller, of a conversation taking place between Hermogenes and Cratylus that … Continue reading Cratylus: Plato’s Dialogue on Language

Euthydemus’s Form of Relativism

Beginning at 293B in Plato's Euthydemus, Crito asks Socrates if Euthydemus was able to reveal anything to him yesterday at the Lyceum when they spoke in front a crowd of rowdy supporters of Euthydemus. Socrates exclaims that 'of course!' that Euthydemus had shown him things. Euthydemus asks Socrates whether he knows anything to which Socrates responds affirmatively … Continue reading Euthydemus’s Form of Relativism