Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Plato’s Theaetetus$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Bostock

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198239307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198239307.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2019



(p.160) (p.161) V FALSE BELIEF
Plato’s Theaetetus

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

The problem of how it is possible for anyone to believe falsely is introduced at 187d as an old and familiar puzzle: Socrates tells us that it has often bothered him on other occasions. The discussion naturally divides into five sections. The first presents a problem for false belief which is actually not the old familiar puzzle at all, but an entirely new one (187e-188c). The second presents the familiar puzzle, but in a somewhat unexpected way, as if it were a kind of alternative to the first puzzle (188d-189b). The third section, on ‘other-judging’, begins as a solution to the second and familiar puzzle — though only a partial solution, it would seem — but Socrates then argues that it too runs into a difficulty (189c-191a). The fourth section gives the most elaborate attempt at a solution to the new puzzle, introducing the idea that the mind contains a wax tablet as its memory, and this does appear to get somewhere with the problem, but not — it seems — far enough (191b-195c). Finally there is a further attempt at a solution, with the mind viewed now as containing an aviary, but this again proves to be unsuccessful (197b-200c). This chapter firsts run through the five sections in order, noting a few points in passing, but mainly trying to settle difficulties of interpretation. The major task here is to see just what Plato' new problem is. It then discusses why it is a problem for him, and of how this ostensible ‘digression’ on false belief relates to the main topic ‘What is knowledge?’.

Keywords:   other-judging, knowledge, Theaetetus, Socrates, puzzle

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .