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Plato’s Epistemology: a Coherent Account in Meno, Phaedo and Theaetetus

Sheng, Chuanjie (2015) Plato’s Epistemology: a Coherent Account in Meno, Phaedo and Theaetetus. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This dissertation analyses the epistemology in Plato’s Meno, Phaedo and Theaetetus. It will explain how Plato constructs his thought on knowledge in those three dialogues into a coherent explanation. In the Meno and Phaedo Plato offers an outline of his epistemology. The Meno introduces Meno’s paradox, the theory of recollection and the formula “knowledge is true opinion with an explanation of the reason why”. In the Phaedo, Plato proposes recollection theory as a proof of immortality of soul and introduces the theory of Forms to make the epistemological outline complete. Although this outline of epistemology is systematic, it still has problems, such as knowledge is limited to a narrow sphere and the epistemological function of the body is denied. Theaetetus is an attempt to rethink the definitions of knowledge and to supplement the epistemological outline in the Meno and Phaedo by presenting new theories. In Theaetetus, three definitions of knowledge are discussed, namely, knowledge is perception, knowledge is true opinion, and knowledge is true opinion with an account. During the investigation of the three definitions, Plato successively supplies the detailed explanations of the process of perceiving colours, the wax block analogy, the aviary example and the discussion of the meaning and nature of the concept of account. In the progress of my study, I will also prove that not all of Socrates’ arguments about knowledge are good and strong. Those poor or weak arguments are mainly caused by employing metaphors to illustrate philosophical thought.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Plato, epistemology, Theaetetus
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > Classics (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.668754
Depositing User: Mr Chuanjie Sheng
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 12:17
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10460

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