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Plato: "Theaetetus" by John McDowell Review by: Rosamond Kent Sprague Classical Philology, Vol. 73, No.

Plato: "Theaetetus" by John McDowell Review by: Rosamond Kent Sprague Classical Philology, Vol. 73, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 79-80 Published by: The University of Chicago Press

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Entwicklungsgeschichteof Herodotus'interests,and concludesthat the visit could have occurredany time betweenthe Battle of Papremis(ca. 459) and ca. 430. L.'s argument that Herodotusdid indeedvisit UpperEgypt (pp.73-75)is basednot on evidencebut on an ad hominemplea: "It is surelyincrediblethat sucha manwouldtell a seriesof bare- facedlies. If he said he went to UpperEgypt, he went!" (p. 75). The essentialpoint is that, whetheror not Herodotustraveledsouth of the Fayyum,such travelscontributed little or nothingto Book2. Severalof the errorsin Book2, L. finds(pp. 149-53),seemto be the result of Herodotus'penchantfor schematization:the contrastof Egyptianand Greekcustoms(2. 35-36), the threegradesof mummification(2. 86-89), the Labyrinth (2. 148).AlthoughI cannotagreewith all of L.'s commentson Herodotus'chronological information,his generalconclusion(p. 193)is well supported:"The two essentialpoints to graspabout Herodotuschronographusare, first, that a well articulatedchronological frameworkcertainlylies beneaththe Historiesand, second,that his rolein makingit is almostcertainlysecondary."

Plato: "Theaetetus."Translated with Notes






Plato Series. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. Pp. vi + 264. $16.00.

The Clarendon Aristotle for philosophers is now joined by a Clarendon Plato; Mr. McDowell's Theaetetusis the first in this new series. The translation is ac- companied by a very substantial set of notes, many of which are really short

essays. In this journal I judge it appropriate to devote the translation.

my space to comments on

One general point about the book (and, in prospect, about the series) disturbs me considerably. Is there really a way of translating Plato for philosophersas opposed to some other group of readers?M.'s concept of his task involves a system- atic flattening of Plato's style. Long sentences are almost invariably broken up, and the order of clauses is frequently reversed. Questions tend to become state- ments. Colorful verbs become pale. The English is sometimes so literal as to be obscure-and so forth. There seems to me to be a wrong approach to Plato here,

a notion that his thinking can be made to emerge bright and clear if we can only

rid ourselves of some of his more fanciful ways of expressingit. If this is really the basic idea behind the Clarendon series, then I view the series with some alarm.

A Plato for philosophers (Oxfordphilosophers?)could be a very limited and even

misleading Plato.

143C2-3:"somethingabouthimself"and "somethingaboutthe person

." areincorrect.

143D1:tonas masculineupsetstheconnectionwithtain D2. 143E1:ta allameans"other," not "several."147B1:to introduce"name"heretakesawayfromthe muchmoregeneral sense of onomain B2. 148D2:prothumetiis separatedfrom labeinlogon,and ton allon appearsto be misunderstood.15OA8:the contrast betweentosoutonand elattonis not broughtout sufficiently.15OB3:"what'strueand what isn't"obscuresreferenceto what precedes.15OC6:the omissionof oneidizousinis acceptablein terms of sense but does alter the style. 150D5:tois alloismeans"to others,"not "to everyoneelse" (cf. 150E7). 151E2: "nothingbut" should be "nothingother than." 151E4: "Well done" is weak

here.151E7:not "yousay knowledgeis perception,"but "perception,you say, is knowl-

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edge." 151E8: "ordinary" is not the right sense for phaulon here. 152C5: "as if it's knowl- edge" is incorrect for hos efisteme ousa. 152C8: "by the Graces" is omitted; this type of omission is announced as a general policy. 152C9: the notion of riddling in einixato should be brought out. 153E2: en genesei seems to be omitted. 153C3-4: the contrast between hemiolious and hemiseis is better shown by Cornford and Fowler ("half as many again" and "half as many"). 156D1-2: the second houtode should not be omitted. 157A3: the

translation misses kai

kai. 158B5: toiondeis not brought out. 161D4: the "he" is slightly

ambiguous. 162C7: "No, I don't" is too weak. 162D3: "debating-points" is not right for demegorias. 165D2: the omission of ei impedes the flow of the sentence. 166B6: the shift from "someone" to "anyone" confuses the sense. 167B1-3: the readings ponerai and chrestei are probably right. 167D5: the full sense of antidiexelthon is not brought out. 167E4-5: the notion of time here is misleading. 168B3: I think sunkatheisimplies mental, rather than physical, activity. 168C2: the suggestion of purpose is misleading. 170B1:

not "because they're superior precisely in respect of knowledge" but "although they are not superior in anything except knowledge." 171A6 ff.: "Protagoras agrees that everyone

has in his judgments the things that are" is very unclear; the whole long sentence needs to be recast. 172D9: tou ontos means "the truth." 173D4: spoudai, rather than hetairion,

is parallel with sunodoi, etc. 173D5: komoi should be something more like "revels." 173E1:

"pints" would be better than "drops" for choes. 174D6: M.'s "having got a high yield" is

distinctly better than keeping to the literal meaning, "to squeeze milk out of," which does not make much sense of suboten. 174E1: "as he is" is ambiguous. 175B9 ff.: the suspense in Plato's long sentence is removed by reordering and breaking up. 176A7: needs

a "but" (de). 176D1: "mechanical" is not quite right for banausoi. 176E3: not "there are

." 178B6: "authority" is slightly misleading

patterns," but "of the patterns which

for kriterion. 179A1: M. wishes to read de for me but fails to translate accordingly. 179A2:

esesthai te kai doxein are omitted. 179D8: choregousiis not brought out. 179E4: autois is not translated. 180A4: "enigmatic little expressions" is good here, as is "transfixed by another novel set of metaphors" in A6. 180C2: "wherever each one happens to draw his inspiration from" is literal but awkward. 18OE1: M. says that hoion merely introduces the Parmenides line, but then goes on to include it in his translation of the quotation. 181D1: ek should be "from," not "instead of." 183B4: the textual note is not clear. M. says he is retaining oud' houtos with W and the OCT, but he is already using the OCT. Nothing is said about the bracketed d' houtosin B5. 183E5: the pun on hena onta is well brought out. 184A5: epeiskomazontoncould be stronger. 186B6: hotiis more likely to mean "that" than "what." 186C1-2: I doubt if pathematashould be made the object. It would also be better to retain the interrogative form and not to break up the sentence so much. 187D6: M. appears to be taking tina as ti. 188D3: "has in his judgment about anything the things which are not" displays the same awkwardness as noted at 171A9 (cf. 188D9 and 189A6, 8). 190E9: "while" is slightly ambiguous. 195D6-7: indefinite article seems needed. 196C6: "get into falsehood" is awkward; "be deceived"? 199C1: better to keep doxan singular. 201B1-2: aposteroumenoiand biazomenoi seem changes for the better. 202A3-4: the quotation marks of the OCT would be of use as at 205C7-8. 204A1: I am not sure it was a good idea to change "syllable" to "complex" and "letters" to "elements" just here. 205A6: certainly a dark saying; perhaps Fowler is most successful with "which have become identical simultaneously and for the same reason." 205B2: M. writes "the same as them." 205D1: to for tou improves the sense. 208A9: "he has the way to go through it" sounds odd. Cf. B5 and C6. 209B7-8: "remotest peasant in Asia" doesn't strike the right note of contempt. 210D3-4: why shift the order of the final sentence?

Rosamond Kent Sprague University of South Carolina

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