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Socrates’ Mythological Role in Plato’s Theaetetus

Authors: Yip Mei Loh


Plato, as a poet, employs muthos extensively to express his philosophical dialectical development, so the majority of his dialogues are comprised of muthoi. We cannot separate his muthos from his philosophical thought, since the former has great influence in the latter. So the methodology of this paper is first to discuss the dialogue Theaetetus to find out why he compares Socrates to the Greek goddess Artemis; then his concept of Maieutikē will be investigated. At the beginning of Plato’s Theaetetus, Socrates first likens himself to the goddess Artemis, who, though unmarried, has a duty to assist women in labour. Socrates’ role, as Plato portrays, is the same as that of Artemis; and the technē he possesses is Maieutikē, which is to assist his students in giving birth to their mental offspring. This paper will focus on discussion on the Socratic mythological role in Platonic interpretation and dialectics so as to reveal the philosophical meaning of Socratic ignorance.

Keywords: Artemis, Ignorance, Logos, Maieutikē, Muthos.

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