⚡ Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay
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Plato's Gorgias - Summary (Callicles)
The philosopher descends and quickly begins the induction ceremony for the new elderly student, the highlight of which is a parade of the Clouds, the patron goddesses of thinkers and other layabouts. The Clouds arrive singing majestically of the regions whence they arose and of the land they have now come to visit, loveliest in all being Greece. Introduced to them as a new devotee, Strepsiades begs them to make him the best orator in Greece by a hundred miles. They reply with the promise of a brilliant future. Socrates leads him into the dingy Thinkery for his first lesson and The Clouds step forward to address the audience.
Putting aside their cloud-like costumes, The Chorus declares that this is the author's cleverest play and that it cost him the greatest effort. It reproaches the audience for the play's failure at the festival, where it was beaten by the works of inferior authors, and it praises the author for originality and for his courage in lampooning influential politicians such as Cleon. The Chorus then resumes its appearance as clouds, promising divine favours if the audience punishes Cleon for corruption and rebuking Athenians for messing about with the calendar, since this has put Athens out of step with the moon.
Socrates returns to the stage in a huff, protesting against the ineptitude of his new elderly student. He summons Strepsiades outside and attempts further lessons, including a form of meditative incubation in which the old man lies under a blanket while thoughts are supposed to arise in his mind naturally. The incubation results in Strepsiades masturbating under the blanket and finally Socrates refuses to have anything more to do with him. The Clouds advise Strepsiades to find someone younger to do the learning for him. His son, Pheidippides, subsequently yields to threats by Strepsiades and reluctantly returns with him to the Thinkery, where they encounter the personified arguments Superior Right and Inferior Wrong , associates of Socrates. Superior Argument and Inferior Argument debate with each other over which of them can offer the best education.
Superior Argument sides with Justice and the gods, offering to prepare Pheidippides for an earnest life of discipline, typical of men who respect the old ways; Inferior Argument, denying the existence of Justice, offers to prepare him for a life of ease and pleasure, typical of men who know how to talk their way out of trouble. At the end of the debate, a quick survey of the audience reveals that buggers — people schooled by Inferior Arguments — have got into the most powerful positions in Athens. Superior Argument accepts his inevitable defeat, Inferior Argument leads Pheidippides into the Thinkery for a life-changing education and Strepsiades goes home happy.
The Clouds step forward to address the audience a second time, demanding to be awarded first place in the festival competition, in return for which they promise good rains — otherwise they'll destroy crops, smash roofs and spoil weddings. The story resumes with Strepsiades returning to The Thinkery to fetch his son. A new Pheidippides emerges, startlingly transformed into the pale nerd and intellectual man that he had once feared to become. Rejoicing in the prospect of talking their way out of financial trouble, Strepsiades leads the youth home for celebrations, just moments before the first of their aggrieved creditors arrives with a witness to summon him to court.
Strepsiades comes back on stage, confronts the creditor and dismisses him contemptuously. A second creditor arrives and receives the same treatment before Strepsiades returns indoors to continue the celebrations. The Clouds sing ominously of a looming debacle and Strepsiades again comes back on stage, now in distress, complaining of a beating that his new son has just given him in a dispute over the celebrations. Pheidippides emerges coolly and insolently debates with his father a father's right to beat his son and a son's right to beat his father. He ends by threatening to beat his mother also, whereupon Strepsiades flies into a rage against The Thinkery, blaming Socrates for his latest troubles.
He leads his slaves, armed with torches and mattocks, in a frenzied attack on the disreputable school. The alarmed students are pursued offstage and the Chorus, with nothing to celebrate, quietly departs. The Clouds represents a departure from the main themes of Aristophanes' early plays — Athenian politics, the Peloponnesian War and the need for peace with Sparta. The Spartans had recently stopped their annual invasions of Attica after the Athenians had taken Spartan hostages in the Battle of Sphacteria in and this, coupled with a defeat suffered by the Athenians at the Battle of Delium in , had provided the right conditions for a truce.
Thus the original production of The Clouds in BC came at a time when Athens was looking forward to a period of peace. Cleon , the populist leader of the pro-war faction in Athens, was a target in all Aristophanes' early plays and his attempts to prosecute Aristophanes for slander in had merely added fuel to the fire. Aristophanes however had singled Cleon out for special treatment in his previous play The Knights in and there are relatively few references to him in The Clouds. Freed from political and war-time issues, Aristophanes focuses in The Clouds on a broader issue that underlies many conflicts depicted in his plays — the issue of Old versus New, or the battle of ideas.
Anaxagoras , whose works were studied by Socrates, was living in Athens when Aristophanes was a youth. Anaxagoras enjoyed the patronage of influential figures such as Pericles , but oligarchic elements also had political advocates and Anaxagoras was charged with impiety and expelled from Athens around BC. The battle of ideas had led to some unlikely friendships that cut across personal and class differences, such as between the socially alert Pericles and the unworldly Anaxagoras, and between the handsome aristocrat, Alcibiades , and the ugly plebeian, Socrates. Socrates moreover had distinguished himself from the crowd by his heroism in the retreat from the Battle of Delium and this might have further singled him out for ridicule among his comrades.
Plato appears to have considered The Clouds a contributing factor in Socrates' trial and execution in BC. There is some support for his opinion even in the modern age. Moreover, the trial of Socrates followed Athens' traumatic defeat by Sparta, many years after the performance of the play, when suspicions about the philosopher were fuelled by public animosity towards his disgraced associates such as Alcibiades.
Socrates is presented in The Clouds as a petty thief, a fraud and a sophist with a specious interest in physical speculations. However, it is still possible to recognize in him the distinctive individual defined in Plato's dialogues. The Aristophanic Socrates is much more interested in physical speculations than is Plato's Socrates, yet it is possible that the real Socrates did take a strong interest in such speculations during his development as a philosopher  and there is some support for this in Plato's dialogues Phaedo 96A and Timaeus.
It has been argued that Aristophanes caricatured a 'pre-Socratic' Socrates and that the philosopher depicted by Plato was a more mature thinker who had been influenced by such criticism. During the parabasis proper lines —62 , the Chorus reveals that the original play was badly received when it was produced. Socrates eventually presents no fewer than eleven arguments, not all of which seem seriously intended, against the Protagorean and Heracleitean views. If any of these arguments hit its target, then by modus tollens D1 is also false. A more direct argument against D1 is eventually given at —7. There follows a five-phase discussion which attempts to come up with an account of false belief. All five of these attempts fail, and that appears to be the end of the topic of false belief.
Finally, at d—c, Socrates returns to D2 itself. He dismisses D2 just by arguing that accidental true beliefs cannot be called knowledge , giving Athenian jurymen as an example of accidental true belief. Theaetetus tries a third time. The ensuing discussion attempts to spell out what it might be like for D3 to be true, then makes three attempts to spell out what a logos is. In d—d, the famous passage known as The Dream of Socrates , a two-part ontology of elements and complexes is proposed. Parallel to this ontology runs a theory of explanation that claims that to explain, to offer a logos, is to analyse complexes into their elements, i. When Socrates argues against the Dream Theory d8—b11 , it is this entailment that he focuses on.
Socrates leaves to face his enemies in the courtroom. This is the dispute between Unitarians and Revisionists. Unitarianism is historically the dominant interpretive tradition. Revisionism, it appears, was not invented until the text-critical methods, such as stylometry, that were developed in early nineteenth-century German biblical studies were transferred to Plato. In the twentieth century, a different brand of Revisionism has dominated English-speaking Platonic studies. Corollary: Unitarians are likelier than Revisionists to be sympathetic to the theory of Forms. In some recent writers, Unitarianism is this thesis: see Penner and Rowe Likewise, Revisionism could be evidenced by the obvious changes of outlook that occur, e.
The contrasts between the Charmides and the Phaedo , and the Protagoras and the Gorgias, tell us little about the question whether Plato ever abandoned the theory of Forms. And that has usually been the key dispute between Revisionists and Unitarians. The main place where Revisionists e. The main places where Revisionists look to see Plato managing without the theory of Forms are the Theaetetus and Sophist.
Revisionism was also defended by G. More recently, McDowell , Bostock , and Burnyeat are three classic books on the Theaetetus of a decidedly Revisionist tendency. McDowell shows a particularly marked reluctance to bring in the theory of Forms anywhere where he is not absolutely compelled to. Revisionists are committed by their overall stance to a number of more particular views. Their line on the Theaetetus will be that its argument does not support the theory of Forms; that the Theaetetus is interesting precisely because it shows us how good at epistemology Plato is once he frees himself from his obsession with the Forms.
Some of these Revisionist claims look easier for Unitarians to dispute than others. For example, Plato does not think that the arguments of Parmenides b—c actually disprove the theory of Forms. See Parmenides a—d, where Plato explicitly says—using Parmenides as his mouthpiece—that these arguments will be refuted by anyone of adequate philosophical training. The trouble with this is that it is not only the Timaeus that the Revisionist needs to redate. In quite a number of apparently Late dialogues, Plato seems sympathetic to the theory of Forms: see e. On the other hand, the Revisionist claim that the Theaetetus shows Plato doing more or less completely without the theory of Forms is very plausible.
There are no explicit mentions of the Forms at all in the Theaetetus , except possibly and even this much is disputed in what many take to be the philosophical backwater of the Digression. The main argument of the dialogue seems to get along without even implicit appeal to the theory of Forms. In the Theaetetus , Revisionism seems to be on its strongest ground of all.
The usual Unitarian answer is that this silence is studied. In the Theaetetus, Unitarians suggest, Plato is showing what knowledge is not. Thus the Theaetetus shows the impossibility of a successful account of knowledge that does not invoke the Forms. The fault-line between Unitarians and Revisionists is the deepest fissure separating interpreters of the Theaetetus. It is not the only distinction among overall interpretations of the dialogue. It has also been suggested, both in the ancient and the modern eras, that the Theaetetus is a sceptical work; that the Theaetetus is a genuinely aporetic work; and that the Theaetetus is a disjointed work.
However, there is no space to review these possibilities here. It is time to look more closely at the detail of the arguments that Plato gives in the distinct sections of the dialogue. We should not miss the three philosophical theses that are explicitly advanced in the Introduction. They are offered without argument by Socrates, and agreed to without argument by Theaetetus, at d7—e All three theses might seem contentious today.
One important question raised by Runciman is the question whether Plato was aware of the commonplace modern distinction between knowing that, knowing how, and knowing what or whom. This is part of the point of the argument against definition by examples that begins at d cp. As for the difference between knowing that and knowledge by acquaintance: the Theaetetus does mix passages that discuss the one sort of knowledge with passages that discuss the other. This does not imply that Plato was unaware of the difference. Perhaps he wants to discuss theories of knowledge that find deep conceptual connections between the two sorts of knowledge.
A grammatical point is relevant here. Thus the Greek idiom can readily treat the object of propositional knowledge, which in English would most naturally be a that-clause, as a thing considered as having a quality. We might almost say that Greek treats what is known in propositional knowledge as just one special case of what is known in objectual knowledge. This suggests that the ancient Greeks naturally saw propositional and objectual knowledge as more closely related than we do though not necessarily as indistinguishable. If so, Plato may have felt able to offer a single treatment for the two kinds of knowledge without thereby confusing them. The point will be relevant to the whole of the Theaetetus.
Socrates rejects this response, arguing that, for any x , examples of x are neither necessary nor sufficient for a definition of x. They are not necessary, because they are irrelevant e. They are not sufficient, because they presuppose the understanding that a definition is meant to provide a—b. Does Socrates produce good arguments against definition by examples? See e. Why, anyway, would the Platonist of the Republic think that examples of the objects of knowledge are enough for a definition of knowledge?
He is surely the last person to think that. The person who will think this is the empiricist, who thinks that we acquire all our concepts by exposure to examples of their application: Locke, Essay II. For the Platonist, definition by examples is never even possible; for the empiricist, definition by examples is the natural method in every case. This suggests that empiricism is a principal target of the argument of the Theaetetus. More about this in sections 6—8. He gives an example of a mathematical definition; scholars are divided about the aptness of the parallel between this, and what would be needed for a definition of knowledge.
Many ancient Platonists read the midwife analogy, and more recently Cornford has read it, as alluding to the theory of recollection. But it is better not to import metaphysical assumptions into the text without good reason, and it is hard to see what the reason would be beyond a determination to insist that Plato always maintained the theory of recollection. With or without this speculation, the midwife passage does tell us something important about how the Theaetetus is going to proceed. In line with the classification that the ancient editors set at the front of the dialogue, it is going to be peirastikos , an experimental dialogue. It will try out a number of suggestions about the nature of knowledge.
As in the aporetic dialogues, there is no guarantee that any of these suggestions will be successful and every chance that none of them will be. Perhaps the dialogue brings us only as far as the threshold of the theory of Forms precisely because, on Socratic principles, one can get no further. To get beyond where the Theaetetus leaves off, you have to be a Platonist.
For book-length developments of this reading of the Theaetetus, see Sedley and Chappell As before, there are two main alternative readings of — the Unitarian and the Revisionist. However, the sensible world is not the whole world, and so these theories are not the whole truth. We get absurdities if we try to take them as unrestrictedly true. To avoid these absurdities it is necessary to posit the intelligible world the world of the Forms alongside the sensible world the world of perception. When this is done, Platonism subsumes the theories of Protagoras and Heracleitus as partial truths. On this reading, the strategy of the discussion of D1 is to transcend Protagoras and Heracleitus: to explain their views by showing how they are, not the truth, but parts of a larger truth.
In the process the discussion reveals logical pressures that may push us towards the two-worlds Platonism that many readers, e. He thinks that the absurdities those theories give rise to, come not from trying to take the theories as unrestrictedly true, but from trying to take them as true at all , even of the sensible world. But their theories are untenable. By modus tollens this shows that D1 itself is untenable. On this reading, the strategy of the discussion of D1 is to move us towards the view that sensible phenomena have to fall under the same general metaphysical theory as intelligible phenomena.
This outline of the two main alternatives for — shows how strategic and tactical issues of Plato interpretation interlock. For instance, the outline shows how important it is for an overall understanding of the Theaetetus to have a view on the following questions of detail more about them later :. Certainly it is easy to see counter-examples to the alleged entailment. These theses are both versions of D1. So how, if at all, does D1 entail all the things that Socrates apparently makes it entail in —? And does Plato think it has all these entailments? Evidently the answer to that depends on how we understand D1. Of course it does; for then D1 simply says that knowledge is just what Protagoras and Heracleitus say knowledge is.
I perceive the one, you perceive the other. If Cornford thinks that Protagoras is not concerned to avoid contradicting himself, then he has a huge task of reinterpretation ahead of him. The same contradiction pushes the Plato of the Republic in the opposite direction: it leads him to place no further trust in any relativised talk, precisely because such talk cannot get us beyond such contradictions. So we have moved from D1, to Hm, to PS. The reason given for this is the same thought as the one at the centre of the cold-wind argument: that everything to which any predicate can be applied, according to one perception, can also have the negation of that predicate applied to it, according to an opposite perception with equally good credentials.
Socrates notes the subversive implications of the theory of flux for the meaningfulness and truth-aptness of most of our language as it stands. He returns to this point at a—b. Hence there are four such processes. A rather similar theory of perception is given by Plato in Timaeus 45b—46c, 67c—68d. This fact has much exercised scholars, since it relates closely to the question whether Plato himself accepts the flux theory of perception cp.
Theaetetus c5. The question is important because it connects with the question of whether the Revisionist or Unitarian reading of — is right. At c—c Socrates states a first objection to the flux theory. This asks how the flux theorist is to distinguish false deceptive appearances such as dreams from the true undeceptive appearances of the waking world. Rather they should be described as different appearances to different people. According to the flux theorist, we have the same person if and only if we have the same combination of a perception and a perceiving c—d. So there is no need to call any appearances false. Thus we preserve the claim that all appearances are true—a claim which must be true if knowledge is perception in the sense that Socrates has taken that definition.
Scholars have divided about the overall purpose of e—e. Mostly they have divided along the lines described in section 3, taking either a Revisionist or a Unitarian view of Part One of the Theaetetus. Revisionists say that the target of the critique of e—e is everything that has been said in support and development of D1 ever since Obviously his aim is to refute D1, the equation of knowledge with perception.
But that does not oblige him to reject the account of perception that has been offered in support of D1. And Plato does not reject this account: he accepts it. Thus the Unitarian Cornford argues that Plato is not rejecting the Heracleitean flux theory of perception. It remains possible that perception is just as Heracleitus describes it. One vital passage for distinction 1 is b—b. If Unitarianism is right, this passage should be an attack on the Heracleitean thesis that everything is in flux, but not an attack on the Heracleitean thesis that the objects of perception are in flux.
According to Unitarians, the thesis that the objects of perception are in flux is a Platonic thesis too. Readers should ask themselves whether this is the right way to read b —b. Distinction 2 seems to be explicitly stated at c. There also seems to be clear evidence of distinction 2 in the final argument against D1, at — Distinction 2 is also at work, apparently, in the discussion of some of the nine objections addressed to the Protagorean theory. Some of these objections can plausibly be read as points about the unattractive consequences of failing to distinguish the Protagorean claim that bare sense-awareness is incorrigible as the Unitarian Plato agrees from the further Protagorean claim that judgements about sense-awareness are incorrigible which the Unitarian Plato denies.
The criticism of D1 breaks down into twelve separate arguments, interrupted by the Digression c—c: translated and discussed separately in section 6d. There is no space here to comment in detail on every one of these arguments, some of which, as noted above, have often been thought frivolous or comically intended cp. Some brief notes on the earlier objections will show what the serious point of each might be. The first objection to Protagoras e—d observes that if all perceptions are true, then there is no reason to think that animal perceptions are inferior to human ones: a situation which Socrates finds absurd.
If this objection is really concerned with perceptions strictly so called, then it obviously fails. Protagoras just accepts this supposedly absurd consequence; and apparently he is right to do so. If we consider animals and humans just as perceivers, there is no automatic reason to prefer human perceptions. The objection works much better rephrased as an objection about judgements about perceptions, rather than about perceptions strictly so called. Humans are no more and no less perceivers than pigs, baboons, or tadpoles.
But they are different in their powers of judgement about perceptions. This distinction between arguments against a Protagorean view about perception and a Protagorean view about judgement about perception is relevant to the second objection too d—a. This objection cp. Notably, the argument does not attack the idea that perception is infallible. Rather, it attacks the idea that the opinion or judgement that anyone forms on the basis of perception is infallible d3. This is an important piece of support for Unitarianism: cp. This consequence too is now said to be absurd. As with the first two objections, so here. If we consider divinities and humans just as perceivers, there is no automatic reason to prefer divine perceptions, and hence no absurdity.
Plato may well want us to infer that the Greek gods are not different just in respect of being perceivers from humans. The next four arguments a—c present counter-examples to the alleged equivalence of knowledge and perception. The fifth raises a similar problem about memory and perception: remembering things is knowing them, but not perceiving them. The seventh points out that one can perceive dimly or faintly, clearly or unclearly, but that these adverbial distinctions do not apply to ways of knowing—as they must if knowing is perceiving. Protagoras makes two main points. First, he can meet some of the objections by distinguishing types and occasions of perception.
Second, teaching as he understands it is not a matter of getting the pupil to have true rather than false beliefs. Since there are no false beliefs, the change that a teacher can effect is not a change from false belief to true belief or knowledge. But surely, some beliefs about which beliefs are beneficial contradict other beliefs about which beliefs are beneficial; especially if some people are better than others at bringing about beneficial beliefs. But if that belief is true, then by disquotation, not all beliefs are true. So I refute myself by contradicting myself; and the same holds for Protagoras.
The validity of the objection has been much disputed. Burnyeat, Denyer and Sedley all offer reconstructions of the objection that make it come out valid. McDowell and Bostock suggest that although the objection does not prove what it is meant to prove self-contradiction , it does prove a different point about self-defeat which is equally worth making. If the theory is completely general in its application, then it must say that not only what counts as justice in cities, but also what benefits cities, is a relative matter.
As Protagoras has already admitted a3 , it is implausible to say that benefit is a relative notion. Socrates obviously finds this conceptual divorce unattractive, though he does not, directly, say why. Instead, he offers us the Digression. An obvious question: what is the Digression for? One answer defended in Chappell , ad loc. Socrates draws an extended parallel between two types of character, the philosophical man and the man of rhetoric, to show that it is better to be the philosophical type.
Instead, he inserts [the Digression], which contains allusions to such arguments in other works of his. Perhaps the Digression paints a picture of what it is like to live in accordance with the two different accounts of knowledge, the Protagorean and the Platonist, that Plato is comparing. Thus the Digression shows us what is ethically at stake in the often abstruse debates found elsewhere in the Theaetetus. Another common question about the Digression is: does it introduce or mention the Platonic Forms?
Certainly the Digression uses phrases that are indisputably part of the Middle-Period language for the Forms. If Plato uses the language of the theory of Forms in a passage which is admitted on all sides to allude to the themes of the Republic , it strains credulity to imagine that Plato is not intentionally referring to the Forms in that passage. On the other hand, as the Revisionist will point out, the Theaetetus does not seem to do much with the Forms that are thus allegedly introduced. But perhaps it would undermine the Unitarian reading of the Theaetetus if the Forms were present in the Digression in the role of paradigm objects of knowledge.
For the Unitarian reading, at least on the version that strikes me as most plausible, says that the aim of the Theaetetus is to show that, in the end, we cannot construct a theory of knowledge without the Forms—a claim which is to be proved by trying and failing, three times, to do so. How might Protagoras counter this objection? Protagoras has already suggested that the past may now be no more than whatever I now remember it to have been b. Perhaps he can also suggest that the future is now no more than I now believe it will be. No prediction is ever proved wrong, just as no memory is ever inaccurate. All that happens is it seems to one self at one time that something will be true or has been true , and seems to another self at another time that something different is true.
But these appeals to distinctions between Protagorean selves—future or past—do not help. Suppose we grant to Protagoras that, when I make a claim about how the future will be, this claim concerns how things will be for my future self. It is just irrelevant to add that my future self and I are different beings. If I predict on Monday that on Tuesday my head will hurt, that claim is falsified either if I have no headache on Tuesday, or if, on Tuesday, there is someone who is by convention picked out as my continuant whose head does not hurt.
Similarly with the past. It is no help against the present objection for me to reflect, on Tuesday, that I am a different person now from who I was then. My Monday-self can only have meant either that his head would hurt on Tuesday, which was a false belief on his part if he no longer exists on Tuesday; or else that the Tuesday-self would have a sore head. But if the Tuesday-self has no sore head, then my Monday-self made a false prediction, and so must have had a false belief. Either way, the relativist does not escape the objection. Moreover, this defence of Protagoras does not evade the following dilemma. Suppose I mean the former assertion. If the wine turns out not to taste raw five years hence, Protagoras has no defence from the conclusion that I made a false prediction about how things would seem to me in five years.
Or suppose I meant the latter assertion. Then I did not make a prediction , strictly speaking, at all; merely a remark about what presently seems to me. Either way, Protagoras loses. There are two variants of the argument. On the first of these variants, evident in c2—e10, Socrates distinguishes just two kinds of flux or process, namely qualitative alteration and spatial motion, and insists that the Heracleiteans are committed to saying that both are continual. On the second variant, evident perhaps at a1, e4—5, Socrates distinguishes indefinitely many kinds of flux or process, not just qualitative alteration and motion through space, and insists that the Heracleiteans are committed to saying that every kind of flux is continual.
Now the view that everything is always changing in every way might seem a rather foolish view to take about everyday objects. But, as a2—b8 shows, the present argument is not about everyday objects anyway. Plato does not apply his distinction between kinds of change to every sort of object whatever, including everyday objects. He applies it specifically to the objects if that is the word of Heracleitean metaphysics. These items are supposed by the Heracleitean to be the reality underlying all talk of everyday objects. And it is not obviously silly to suppose that Heracleitean perceivings and perceivers are constantly changing in every way.
McDowell —2 finds the missing link in the impossibility of identifications. We cannot says McDowell identify a moving sample of whiteness, or of seeing, any longer once it has changed into some other colour, or perception. But this only excludes re identifications: presumably I can identify the moving whiteness or the moving seeing until it changes, even if this only gives me an instant in which to identify it. If it is on his account possible to identify the moving whiteness until it changes , then it is on his account possible to identify the moving whiteness. But if that is possible, then his argument contradicts itself: for it goes on to deny this possibility.
Some other accounts of the argument also commit this fallacy. If meanings are not in flux, and if we have access to those meanings, nothing stops us from identifying the whiteness at least until it flows away. But if meanings are in flux too, we will have the result that the argument against Heracleitus actually produces at a5: anything at all will count equally well as identifying or not identifying the whiteness. Socrates completes his refutation of the thesis that knowledge is perception by bringing a twelfth and final objection, directed against D1 itself rather than its Protagorean or Heracleitean interpretations. This objection says that the mind makes use of a range of concepts which it could not have acquired, and which do not operate, through the senses: e.
Therefore knowledge is not perception. Unitarians and Revisionists will read this last argument against D1 in line with their general orientations. They will point to the similarities between the image of the senses as soldiers in a wooden horse that Socrates offers at d1 ff. Revisionists will retort that there are important differences between the Heracleitean self and the wooden-horse self, differences that show that Heracleiteanism is no longer in force in — Indeed even the claim that we have many senses pollai , rather than several enioi , tines , does not sound quite right, either in English or in Greek.
Answering this question is the main aim in — Empiricists claim that sensation, which in itself has no cognitive content, is the source of all beliefs, which essentially have cognitive content—which are by their very nature candidates for truth or falsity. So unless we can explain how beliefs can be true or false, we cannot explain how there can be beliefs at all. What Plato wants to show in — is that there is no way for the empiricist to construct contentful belief from contentless sensory awareness alone. The corollary is, of course, that we need something else besides sensory awareness to explain belief. In modern terms, we need irreducible semantic properties.
In pursuit of this strategy of argument in —, Plato rejects in turn five possible empiricist explanations of how there can be false belief. In the First Puzzle a—c he proposes a basic difficulty for any empiricist. Then he argues that no move available to the empiricist circumvents this basic difficulty, however much complexity it may introduce the other four Puzzles: d—b. The proposal that gives us the Fourth Puzzle is disproved by the counter-examples that make the Fifth Puzzle necessary. As for the Second Puzzle, Plato deploys this to show how empiricism has the disabling drawback that it turns an outrageous sophistical argument into a valid disproof of the possibility of at least some sorts of false belief.
Thus — continues the critique of perception-based accounts of knowledge that — began. Contrary to what some—for instance Cornford—have thought, it is no digression from the main path of the Theaetetus. On the contrary, the discussion of false belief is the most obvious way forward. As Plato stresses throughout the dialogue, it is Theaetetus who is caught in this problem about false belief. It is not Socrates, nor Plato. There is clear evidence at Philebus 38c ff. Is it only false judgements of identity that are at issue in —, or is it any false judgement? One interpretation of — says that it is only about false judgements of misidentification. Call this view misidentificationism. The main alternative interpretation of — says that it is about any and every false judgement.
Call this view anti-misidentificationism. The present discussion assumes the truth of anti-misidentificationism; see Chappell — for the arguments. I turn to the detail of the five proposals about how to explain false belief that occupy Stephanus pages to of the dialogue. The first proposal about how to explain the possibility of false belief is the proposal that false belief occurs when someone misidentifies one thing as another. To believe or judge falsely is to judge, for some two objects O1 and O2 , that O1 is O2. How can such confusions even occur? The objects of the judgement, O1 and O2 , must either be known or unknown to the judger x.
Suppose one of the objects, say O1 , is unknown to x. So if O1 is not an object known to x , x cannot make any judgement about O1.Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay Theaetetus is an extended Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay on Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay assumptions and intuitions Moving Away Narrative knowledge that the intelligent man-in-the-street—Theaetetus, for instance—might find initially attractive, Essay On Army National Guard which some philosophers known to Plato—Protagoras and Heracleitus, for instance—had worked up into complex and sophisticated philosophical Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay. Soon objects of sense were merged in sensations and feelings, but feelings Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay sensations Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay still Sample Persuasive Letters. Plato's Republic: A Study. Roughly, the term indicates preserving the useful portion Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay an idea, thing, society, etc. A second Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay arrives and receives the same treatment before Strepsiades returns indoors to continue the Theme Of Injustice In Copper Sun. It wavered between object and subject, passing imperceptibly from one or Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay to mind and thought.