In Plato's Theaetetus Socrates asks the title character to give a definition of knowledge. The dialogue examines three possible definitions of knowledge, but none of them work. So that at the end of the dialogue we are still left wondering what is knowledge. What is going on?
In my paper I argue that it is not that Plato does not know the answer to what knowledge is, but rather that he is unable to provide a definition of knowledge that sufficiently differentiates it from true belief. The beginning of my paper looks at the Meno, another Platonic dialogue about knowledge. In the Meno, Socrates claims that the content of both true belief and knowledge are the same. Knowledge is just true belief that has been tied down. The puzzle that we are left with at the end of the Meno, concerns how we can ever tell the difference between true belief and knowledge. In other words, how can I tell whether my conviction that 2+2=4 is a true belief or genuine knowledge? What we discover in the Theaetetus is that there is no way to properly define what it means to tie something down, and so knowledge and true belief, although conceptually different, are indistinguishable through experience.