Translated by Benjamin Jowett
INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS.
Some dialogues of Plato are of so various a character that their relation
to the other dialogues cannot be determined with any degree of certainty.
The Theaetetus, like the Parmenides, has points of similarity both with his
earlier and his later writings. The perfection of style, the humour, the
dramatic interest, the complexity of structure, the fertility of
illustration, the shifting of the points of view, are characteristic of his
best period of authorship. The vain search, the negative conclusion, the
figure of the midwives, the constant profession of ignorance on the part of
Socrates, also bear the stamp of the early dialogues, in which the original
Socrates is not yet Platonized. Had we no other indications, we should be
disposed to range the Theaetetus with the Apology and the Phaedrus, and
perhaps even with the Protagoras and the Laches.
But when we pass from the style to an examination of the subject, we trace
a connection with the later rather than with the earlier dialogues. In the
first place there is the connexion, indicated by Plato himself at the end
of the dialogue, with the Sophist, to which in many respects the Theaetetus
is so little akin. (1) The same persons reappear, including the younger