The Secret Doctrine in Plato's <i>Theaetetus</i>

Mi-Kyoung Lee

in Epistemology after Protagoras

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199262229
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602924 | DOI:
 The Secret Doctrine in Plato's Theaetetus

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In the Theaetetus, Plato develops a theory of perception and of sensible qualities for Protagoras’ measure doctrine. Protagoras states that whatever appears to be the case to one is the case for one; this is construed as an epistemological thesis asserting the truth of all human beliefs. Plato attributes to Protagoras a “Secret Doctrine”, a collection of loosely related metaphysical theses, including a thesis of constant flux and a thesis of the compresence of opposites. His aim is to show how these theses can be used to develop a full-fledged theory for Protagoras in the case of sensible qualities, in particular, to show what it means to say that, for example, the wind is cold for Theaetetus. The result is a relativist account of perception and of sensible qualities offered on Protagoras’ behalf.

Keywords: Secret Doctrine; measure doctrine; perception; sensible qualities; perceptible qualities; truth; flux; compresence of opposites; conflicting appearances; relativist

Chapter.  24330 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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