Perception, Relativism, and Truth: Reflections on Plato's Theaetetus 152–160

Mohan Matthena1

a1 The University of Alberta

My purpose in this paper is to investigate the ontological structure of the theory that Plato ascribes to Protagoras in the Theaetetus (152–160). My interest is not just historical—what I wish to do is to explore the contemporary significance of Plato's Protagorean thesis, especially with regard to the theory of truth and the theory of perception. Even so, I shall attempt to say quite a lot about the text—I think that certain recent interpreters (especially M. F. Burnyeat [1982]) are on the wrong track with regard to Protagorean relativism, precisely due to their misjudging the relation of the Theaetetus doctrine to more recent philosophy.