Editor's note: After blind peer review, this paper was selected for reading at the University of Dayton's 10th annual Philosophy Colloquium, held Feb. 27-28, 1981.

With these disarmingly simple words, addressed to Theaetetus towards the end of the dialogue named in his honor, Plato introduces what surely looks like a gratuitous puzzle. Occurring as an apparent digression just before the expected denouement of the discussion, the passage now known as Socrates' Dream is first elaborately developed, then to all intents and purposes elaborately, precisely, and definitively refuted. After which, the thread of the discussion is picked up where it was left off and continues on to the inconclusive conclusion, leaving the reader with a kind of empty bewilderment: Why does Plato introduce this "Dream" only to refute it? Why does any of it occur at all — either Dream or refutation — at this particular point in the dialogue? As noted by K.M. Sayre, it is this "mysterious Dream Theory" which, more than any other passage in the Theaetetus, has intrigued recent philosophers.



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