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Theaetetus by Plato, Benjamin Jowett

By Plato, Benjamin Jowett

In 427 B.C., the traditional Greek city-state of Athens was once flourishing. nearly eighty years past, the Athenians had shaped the 1st self-representative democracy in historical past, the Peloponnesian struggle opposed to Sparta had in basic terms simply begun, and Socrates used to be merely commencing to lay the root of what may turn into Western philosophy. That yr Plato was once born to a prosperous kinfolk: with an uncle who was once shut associates with Socrates, Plato was once possible destined to turn into a thinker. through the tip of his lifestyles, Plato had certainly develop into the major thinker of his time, and maybe the main recognized thinker in Western historical past. None of Socrates’ works survived antiquity, so such a lot of what's identified approximately him got here from the writings of his fans, such a lot significantly Plato. what's identified approximately Socrates is that he appeared to make a occupation out of philosophy, and Plato used to be rationale on following in his footsteps. but for the entire impact of Socrates’ existence on Plato, it was once Socrates’ dying round 399 B.C. that really formed him. Plato used to be so embittered via Socrates’ trial in Athens that he thoroughly soured on Athenian democracy, and he started to commute round the Mediterranean, learning issues like arithmetic, honing his method of philosophical considering, and carrying on with to refine his philosophical ideals. a couple of decade later, Plato lower back to Athens and based his well-known Platonic Academy round 387 B.C., which he oversaw for forty years until eventually his demise. certainly one of Plato’s philosophical ideals used to be that writing down teachings was once much less beneficial than passing them down orally, and several other of Plato’s writings are responses to past writings of his, so Plato’s in my opinion held ideals are demanding to parent. although, Plato proficient a number of next philosophers, leader between them Aristotle, and his writings finally shaped the spine of Western philosophy.

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The a priori intuitions of Kant would have been as unintelligible to Plato as his a priori synthetical propositions to Aristotle. The philosopher of Konigsberg supposed himself to be analyzing a necessary mode of thought: he was not aware that he was dealing with a mere abstraction. But now that we are able to trace the gradual developement of ideas through religion, through language, through abstractions, why should we interpose the fiction of time between ourselves and realities? Why should we single out one of these abstractions to be the a priori condition of all the others?

For example, we are absolutely certain, (a) of the influence exerted by the mind over the body or by the body over the mind: (b) of the power of association, by which the appearance of some person or the occurrence of some event recalls to mind, not always but often, other persons and events: (c) of the effect of ON THE NATURE AND LIMITS Of PSYCHOLOGY. 35 Theaetetus habit, which is strongest when least disturbed by reflection, and is to the mind what the bones are to the body: (d) of the real, though not unlimited, freedom of the human will: (e) of the reference, more or less distinct, of our sensations, feelings, thoughts, actions, to ourselves, which is called consciousness, or, when in excess, self−consciousness: (f) of the distinction of the 'I' and 'Not I,' of ourselves and outward objects.

We are often told that we should enquire into all things before we accept them;−−with what limitations is this true? For we cannot use our senses without admitting that we have them, or think without presupposing that there is in us a power of thought, or affirm that all knowledge is derived from experience without implying that this first principle of knowledge is prior to experience. The truth seems to be that we begin with the natural use of the mind as of the body, and we seek to describe this as well as we can.

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