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Hugh Benson
University of Oklahoma, Norman (Norman, OK 73019-3003)
Plato's Maieutic Method: Inquiry in Plato's "Theaetetus"

A book-length study on Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus.

I propose a fresh reading of the "Theaetetus"—one of Plato's most influential and sophisticated dialogues. Despite appearances Plato does not return to an earlier form of dialectic depicted in dialogues like the "Euthyphro", "Laches", "Charmides", and "Protagoras" which conclude with the various interlocutors' recognition of their ignorance—their aporia. Rather, Plato depicts in the "Theaetetus" a form of dialectic which follows upon this aporia and which he has developed in the "Meno", "Phaedo", and "Republic". The "Theaetetus" thus depicts the method by which Plato recommends that we and his interlocutors are to acquire the knowledge we have recognized that we lack. Such a reading enhances our understanding of Plato's method of philosophical inquiry developed in the "Meno", "Phaedo", and "Republic", deepens our understanding of the arguments in the "Theaetetus", and looks forward to the method of inquiry displayed in the "Sophist", for example, in Aristotle, and beyond.

Project fields:
Classical Languages; Classics; History of Philosophy

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 7/31/2017