Unformatted text preview: Theaetetus 155c I can become smaller than you even though I have not changed in size: that is, when you have grown. T. looks at such things with wonder, and S. replies that wondering belongs very much to the philosopher: wonder is the only source of philosophy. Iris, goddess who communicates between the gods and with man. S. then is going to try to find the truth hidden away in the thinking of such famous men as Protagoras. "the uninitiated" are those who believe there is nothing other than what they can physically hold, nothing invisible. [They are your unphilosophical types... I can only believe in what I can see types] 161b I am not a bag of arguments, all of my arguments come out of the person conversing with me. I only know enough to get an account out of someone else [considered] wise. 161c. Not in your text SOCRATES: In general I like his doctrine that what appears to each one is to him, but I am amazed by the beginning of his book. I don't see why he does not say in the beginning of his Truth that a pig or a dogfaced baboon or some still stranger creature of those that have sensations is the measure of all things. Then he might have begun to speak to us very imposingly and condescendingly, showing that while we were honoring him like a god for his wisdom, he was after all no better in intellect than any other man, [161d] or, for that matter, than a tadpole. What alternative is there, Theodorus? For if that opinion is true to each person which he acquires through sensation, and no one man can discern another's condition better than he himself, and one man has no better right to investigate whether another's opinion is true or false than he himself, but, as we have said several times, each man is to form his own opinions by himself, and these opinions are always right and true, why in the world, my friend, was Protagoras wise, so that he could rightly be thought worthy [161e] to be the teacher of other men and to be well paid, and why were we ignorant creatures and obliged to go to school to him, if each person is the measure of his own wisdom? Must we not believe that Protagoras was "playing to the gallery" in saying this? I say nothing of the ridicule that I and my science of midwifery deserve in that case, and, I should say, the whole practice of dialectics, too. For would not the investigation of one another's fancies and opinions, and the attempt to refute them, when each man's must be right, be tedious[162a] and blatant folly, if the Truth of Protagoras is true and he was not jesting when he uttered his oracles from the shrine of his book? Are Knowledge and Perception the Same? 163a If so, it would follow that what one sees or hears is also known at the same time. But that would mean that we both hear and know what people say when they speak in a foreign language, which is absurd. T: We should say that we see and know the high and low pitch of the words but not what language interpreters would teach about them. Memory Gives Knowledge, but it is not Perception! S: But you must admit that once you have learned something then you must also know it if you remember it. And according to P. if you have seen something you know it. Yet, memory of something is something, and memory is of what one has learned and perceived. And a person who remembers does so even when his eyes are shut. Knowledge can't be the same as perception! If someone sees, he knows what he sees, but if he shuts his eyes, and remembers it, he is not seeing it, and so does not know it, on this view. And this is absurd. Something impossible results if knowledge and perception are the same. Protagoras of Abdera Socrates Imagines Protagoras's reply It is possible to remember and not know the same thing. Memory that is present of things experienced is not the same sort of experience as perception: it is far short of the original. Also it's possible for the same person to know and not know the same thing. Also, a person who is becoming unlike is the same person he was before becoming unlike. Prove it! 166c You need to prove that perceptions do not come privately to each of us. P. clarifies that his position is that each of us is the measure of the things that are and are not we differ in thousands of ways from one another to one person some things are and appear, to another person other things are and appear a wise person is someone who makes someone to whom bad things appear and are change into appearing and being good things Produce a change to a better condition To the sick person what he eats appears and is bitter, and to the healthy the opposite. The healthy person is not wiser in this case. But one should produce a change: the healthy condition is better. In education too: produce a change to a better condition, i.e. with speeches. Replacing Perceptions not false opinions In education one does not replace false opinions with true opinions: one's experiences are always true. 167b The opinions some people call true I call better. Wise people with respect to bodies are doctors, with respect to plants are farmers. Farmers replace burdensome perceptions in sickly plants with healthy perceptions. Wise and good rhetoricians make useful things seem just to cities, even though what seems just and beautiful for a city is so for it at that time. Similarly the sophist is wise and deserves money for educating people. So, both some people are wiser than others and no one has false opinions. P. then chastises S. for being unjust in his questioning, competitive, and not conversational and serious. If he was serious people would hold themselves responsible for their confusion, and run away form themselves to philosophy, and be set free. Truly examine what we mean when we say that all things are in motion and whatever seems so is also that way (for each person and for each city). Do not examine based on customary phrases and words. How to engage in serious philosophical conversation! 170a For Protagoras what seems so to each human also is that way for the one to whom it seems that way. S: Yet no one does not consider himself wiser than others in some respects and others wiser than himself in other respects. When in danger at sea, for example, you expect the pilot to be your savior because he knows what he doing. Human beings themselves consider there to be wisdom and lack of understanding among them. They consider wisdom true thinking and lack of understanding false opinion It follows that humans do not always hold true opinions. Does P. want to hold that no one considers anyone else to be lacking in understanding or hold false opinions? But this is what "a human being is the measure of all things" means. We can judge the judgments of others and hold their opinions to be not true. Thousands of people hold you, Protagoras, to believe false things. Do you want us to say that you hold an opinion that is true for you but false for the thousands who disagree? 171a If most people were to deny Protagoras's theory that truth is relative would the theory then be false? Since he holds that all opinions are true he must believe that the opinions of those who disagree with him about this are also true. He is calling his own belief false! So the Truth of Protagoras is true for no one, not even for he himself. Conclusion of the Dialogue 210a [The conclusion they have come to is] Knowledge is a correct opinion along with a knowledge of differentness. Yet neither perception, nor true opinion, nor articulation [explanation or account] attached to true opinion would be knowledge. [This is based on earlier discussion not included in our textbook.] So, all of our theories have been windeggs. Socrates goes off to respond to the indictment brought against him by Meletus. Is knowledge justified true belief? Farmer Franco is concerned about his prize cow, Daisy. In fact, he is so concerned that when his dairyman tells him that Daisy is in the field, happily grazing, he says he needs to know for certain. He doesn't want merely to have a 99 percent probability that Daisy is safe, he wants to be able to say that he knows Daisy is safe. Farmer Franco goes out to the field and standing by the gate sees in the distance, behind some trees, a white and black shape that he recognizes as his favorite cow. He goes back to the dairy and tells his friend that he knows Daisy is in the field. Yet, at this point, does Farmer Franco really know it? This material is taken from Wikipedia "Gettier problem" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettier_problem The dairyman says he will check too, and goes to the field. There he finds Daisy, having a nap in a hollow, behind a bush, well out of sight of the gate. He also spots a large piece of black and white paper that has got caught in a tree. Daisy is in the field, as Farmer Franco thought. But was he right to say that he knew she was? The philosopher, Martin Cohen, who described this scenario originally, says that in this case the farmer: However, we might still feel that the farmer did not really know it; his justified true belief was actually operating independent of the truth. Herein lies the core of the problem of 'knowledge as justified true belief'. ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 70A at San Jose State.