Dialectics, a process that leads us to the knowledge of the Forms and finally to the highest Form of the Good, through discussion, reasoning, questions and interpretation, has preoccupied philosophers since ancient times. Socrates practiced dialectics through the method of oral dialogue, which he called the art of "the birth of souls" (a method also called Mayan, or the method of Elenchus), which could lead, according to Socrates' intention, to confirm or refute statements, or to the so-called "aporia" in which (...) no definitive conclusion was reached. In Plato, dialectics is a type of knowledge, with an ontological and metaphysical role, which is reached by confronting several positions to overcome opinion (doxa), a shift from the world of appearances (or "sensible") to intellectual knowledge ( or "intelligible") to the first Principles. It also involves the ordering of concepts into genera and species by the method of division, and embraces multiplicity in unity, being used to understand the whole process of enlightenment, by which the philosopher is educated so as to attain knowledge of the supreme good, the Form of Good. -/- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.14169.80485. (shrink)
Dialectica, un proces care ne conduce la cunoașterea formelor și în final la cea mai înaltă formă a Binelui, prin discuție, raționament, chestionare și interpretare, a preocupat filosofii încă din antichitate. Socrate a practicat dialectica prin metoda dialogului oral, ceea ce el numea arta „nașterii sufletelor” (o metodă numită și maieutică, sau metoda lui Elenchus), care putea duce, în funcție de intenția lui Socrate, la confirmarea sau infirmarea unor afirmații, sau la așa-numitele „aporii” în care nu se ajungea la o (...) concluzie definitivă. La Platon, dialectica este un tip de cunoaștere, cu rol rol ontologic și metafizic, la care se ajunge prin confruntarea mai multor poziții pentru a depăși opinia (doxa), o deplasare din lumea aparențelor (sau a „sensibilului”) către cunoașterea intelectuală (sau „inteligibilul”) până la primele principii. Ea implică și ordonarea conceptelor în genuri și specii prin metoda divizării, și îmbrățișează multiplicitatea în unitate, fiind folosită pentru a înțelege „procesul total al iluminării, prin care filozoful este educat astfel încât să realizeze cunoașterea binelui suprem, a Formei Binelui”. -/- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.22933.60641. (shrink)
La dialectique, un processus qui nous conduit à la connaissance des Formes et finalement à la Forme la plus élevée du Bien, à travers la discussion, le raisonnement, les questions et l'interprétation, a préoccupé les philosophes depuis les temps anciens. Socrate pratiquait la dialectique par la méthode du dialogue oral, qu'il appelait l'art de « la naissance des âmes » (méthode aussi appelée maya, ou méthode d'Elenchus), qui pouvait conduire, selon l'intention de Socrate, à confirmer ou infirmer déclarations, ou à (...) la soi-disant « aporie » dans laquelle aucune conclusion définitive n'a été tirée. Chez Platon, la dialectique est un type de connaissance, avec un rôle ontologique et métaphysique, auquel on accède en confrontant plusieurs positions pour dépasser l'opinion (doxa), un passage du monde des apparences (ou « sensible ») à la connaissance intellectuelle (ou « intelligible ») aux premiers Principes. Il implique également l'ordonnancement des concepts en genres et espèces par la méthode de la division, et embrasse la multiplicité dans l'unité, étant utilisé pour comprendre l'ensemble du processus d'illumination, par lequel le philosophe est éduqué afin d'atteindre la connaissance du bien suprême, le Forme du bien. -/- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30743.85925 . (shrink)
This selective and opinionated overview of English-language scholarship on the philosophical method(s) of Plato's Socrates discusses whether this Socrates has any expertise or method, how he examines others and why, and how he exhorts others to care about wisdom and the state of their soul.
This article investigates how Plato thinks we secure necessary motivational conditions for inquiry. After presenting a typology of zetetic breakdowns in the dialogues, I identify norms of inquiry Plato believes all successful inquirers must satisfy. Satisfying these norms requires trust that philosophy will not harm but benefit inquirers overall. This trust cannot be secured by protreptic argument. Instead, it requires divine intervention—an extra-rational foundation for rational inquiry.
Democratizing the syllabus has been discussed in the fields of sociology and political science but rarely in philosophy. In this paper I will draw upon my experience of teaching Philosophy of Love in an online modality to examine the impact on motivation when students fill in the gaps presented in a democratic syllabus.
At the beginning of the "Phaedrus", Socrates distinguishes between two kinds of people: those who are more complex, violent and hybristic than the monster Typhon, and those who are simpler, calmer and tamer (230a). I argue that there are also two distinct types of Eros (Love) that correlate to Socrates’s two kinds of people. In the first case, lovers cannot attain recollection because their souls are disordered in the absence of self-knowledge. For the latter, the self-knowledge of self-disciplined lovers renders (...) them capable of recollecting the Forms by ordering their souls naturally. (shrink)
Plato often depicts Socrates inquiring together with an interlocutor into a thing/concept by trying to answer the “What is it?” question about that thing/concept. This typically involves Socrates requesting that his discussion partner answer the question, and usually ends in failure. There are, however, instances in which Socrates provides the sort of answer, in relation to a more familiar thing/concept, that he would like to receive in relation to a more obscure thing/concept, thus furnishing his interlocutor with an example of (...) how he would like him to answer. This chapter considers this dialectical tool by focusing on three instances of its use (Meno 73e3–76e4; Laches 191e9–192b3; Theaetetus 146e7–147c6). It argues, first, that in these instances Socrates provides true and adequate definitions of the things/concepts in question. It further argues that dialectic, for Plato, is just as much about the essences everyday things/concepts as it is about the essences of more obscure things/concepts; and that it is just as much about the meanings of the words we use to designate things, as it is about the essences of those things. (shrink)
At a crucial juncture in Plato’s Sophist, when the interlocutors have reached their deepest confusion about being and not-being, the Eleatic Visitor proclaims that there is yet hope. Insofar as they clarify one, he maintains, they will equally clarify the other. But what justifies the Visitor’s seemingly oracular prediction? A new interpretation explains how the Visitor’s hope is in fact warranted by the peculiar aporia they find themselves in. The passage describes a broader pattern of ‘exploring both sides’ that lends (...) insight into Plato’s aporetic method. (shrink)
how does one inquire into the truth of first principles? Where does one begin when deciding where to begin? Aristotle recognizes a series of difficulties when it comes to understanding the starting points of a scientific or philosophical system, and contemporary scholars have encountered their own difficulties in understanding his response. I will argue that Aristotle was aware of a Platonic solution that can help us uncover his own attitude toward the problem.Aristotle's central problem with first principles arises from the (...) fact that they cannot be demonstrated in the same way as other propositions. Since demonstrations proceed from prior and better-known principles, if the principles themselves were in need of... (shrink)
Η παρούσα διατριβή πραγματεύεται τη σχέση που συνδέει την μυθική σύνθεση και την διαλεκτική μέθοδο στο πλατωνικό έργο. Οι περισσότεροι μελετητές, βασιζόμενοι στις ποιητικές κριτικές του Πλάτωνος στην Πολιτεία, υποστηρίζουν ότι ο φιλόσοφος εξορίζει την ποίηση και την τέχνη εν γένει, από την ιδανική πολιτεία του, και, κατά συνέπεια, δεν θα έπρεπε ο ίδιος να συνθέτει και να χρησιμοποιεί μύθους. Ενάντια σε αυτή τη θεώρηση, επιχειρώ να δείξω, αφενός, ότι ο Πλάτων διακρίνει δύο είδη ποιήσεως· το ένα το υιοθετεί, το (...) άλλο το εξορίζει. Στην πρώτη περίπτωση, η ποίηση είναι ωφέλιμη, διότι καθιστά αρμονικές και ενάρετες τις ψυχές των πολιτών, τρέφοντας στον κατάλληλο βαθμό το ενδιάμεσο ψυχικό τμήμα, δηλαδή το θυμοειδές, και συναρμόζοντας το με το ανώτερο, ήτοι το λογιστικό. Στη δεύτερη, είναι επιβλαβής, επειδή ενσπείρει σε αυτές τη δυσαρμονία και τη διαφθορά, ενδυναμώνοντας υπερβολικά την υποδεέστερη ψυχική δύναμη, που είναι το επιθυμητικό. Βάσει της ανωτέρω διάκρισης, υποστηρίζω ότι τα πλατωνικά μυθολογήματα συνιστούν πρότυπα της απλής και ωφέλιμης μυθολογίας και ότι η χρήση τους αποσκοπεί στην εγχάραξη της αρετής στις ψυχές των αναγνωστών/ακροατών τους. Εισηγούμαι, επιπλέον, ότι ο μύθος, ως πλατωνική σύνθεση, εμφανίζεται μετά την εισαγωγή της θεωρίας της ανάμνησης και της υποθετικής μεθόδου στον Μένωνα, γεγονός που καταδεικνύει ότι η λειτουργία του πλατωνικού μύθου είναι, θεμελιωδώς, συνυφασμένη με την πλατωνική μέθοδο. (shrink)
Este trabajo pretende ser una referencia útil para los estudiosos de la filosofía de Platón. Aporta un enfoque original a la investigación de los procesos lógicos que condicionan que unas formas participen de otras. Con la introducción del concepto de participación relacional, abre una posible vía de solución a las distintas versiones del argumento del «tercer hombre». Puede resultar de interés asimismo el método de generación de los números a partir de lo par y lo impar, propuesto en la interpretación (...) de Parménides 143e-144a. El escrito tiene continuidad en un segundo artículo acerca del ser y la verdad en Platón. (shrink)
Plato’s Parmenides and Lysis have a surprising amount in common from a methodological standpoint. Both systematically employ a method that I call ‘exploring both sides’, a philosophical method for encouraging further inquiry and comprehensively understanding the truth. Both have also been held in suspicion by interpreters for containing what looks uncomfortably similar to sophistic methodology. I argue that the methodological connections across these and other dialogues relieve those suspicions and push back against a standard developmentalist story about Plato’s method. This (...) allows for a better understanding of why exploring both sides is explicitly recommended in the Parmenides and its role within Plato’s broader methodological repertoire. (shrink)
In both the Phaedrus and Statesman dialogues, the dialectician's method of division is likened to the butchery of sacrificial animals. Interpreting the significance of this metaphor by analyzing ancient Greek sacrificial practice, this essay argues that, despite the ubiquity of the method of division in these later dialogues, Plato is there stressing the logical priority of the method of collection, division's dialectical twin. Although Plato prioritizes the method of collection, the author further argues that, through a kind of 'domestication' of (...) natural kinds, collection renders natural kinds knowable only by constructing them as implicitly divisible. As a result, the method of collection reflects not the wholeness of being but a constructed unity, the internal multiplicity of which makes possible each subsequent division. (shrink)
These remarks take up the reflexive problematics of Being and Nothingness and related texts from a metalogical perspective. A mutually illuminating translation is posited between, on the one hand, Sartre’s theory of pure reflection, the linchpin of the works of Sartre’s early period and the site of their greatest difficulties, and, on the other hand, the quasi-formalism of diagonalization, the engine of the classical theorems of Cantor, Gödel, Tarski, Turing, etc. Surprisingly, the dialectic of mathematical logic from its inception through (...) the discovery of the diagonal theorems can be recognized as a particularly clear instance of the drama of reflection according to Sartre, especially in the positing and overcoming of its proper value-ideal, viz. the synthesis of consistency and completeness. Conversely, this translation solves a number of systematic problems about pure reflection’s relations to accessory reflection, phenomenological reflection, pre-reflective self-consciousness, conversion, and value. Negative foundations, the metaphysical position emerging from this translation between existential philosophy and metalogic, concurs by different paths with Badiou’s Being and Event in rejecting both ontotheological foundationalisms and constructivist antifoundationalisms. (shrink)
The period from Plato's birth to Aristotle's death (427-322 BC) is one of the most influential and formative in the history of Western philosophy. The developments of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and science in this period have been investigated, controversies have arisen and many new theories have been produced. But this is the first book to give detailed scholarly attention to the development of dialectic during this decisive period. It includes chapters on topics such as: dialectic as interpersonal debate between (...) a questioner and a respondent; dialectic and the dialogue form; dialectical methodology; the dialectical context of certain forms of arguments; the role of the respondent in guaranteeing good argument; dialectic and presentation of knowledge; the interrelations between written dialogues and spoken dialectic; and definition, induction and refutation from Plato to Aristotle. The book contributes to the history of philosophy and also to the contemporary debate about what philosophy is. (shrink)
Abstract The main thesis of the paper is that, in the coda to the Protagoras (360e-end), Plato tells us why and with what justification he demands a definition of virtue: namely, in order to resolve a particular aporia . According to Plato's assessment of the outcome of the arguments of the dialogue, the principal question, whether or not virtue can be taught , has, by the end of the dialogue, emerged as articulating an aporia , in that both protagonists, Socrates (...) and Protagoras, have argued equally on both its sides. The first part of the paper provides an extensive analysis of the coda, with the aim of establishing the main thesis. The second part provides a comprehensive review of the arguments in the dialogue, with the aim of determining whether their outcome is what Plato says in the coda that it is. I undertake this review in three steps: on Plato's conception of reasons (logoi); Socrates' arguing on both sides; and Protagoras' arguing on both sides. (shrink)
Drawing principally on the Symposium, this paper argues that humor in Plato’s dialogues serves two serious purposes. First, Plato uses puns and other devices to disarm the reader’s defenses and thereby allow her to consider philosophical ideas that she would otherwise dismiss. Second, insofar as human beings can only be understood through unchanging forms that we fail to attain, our lives are discontinuous and only partly intelligible. Since, though, the discontinuity between expectation and actual occurrence is the basis for humor, (...) Plato can use humor to express who we are as human beings. (shrink)
In Republic VII Plato has Socrates make a curious argument: dialectic as currently practiced causes lawlessness, and thus the practice of dialectic should be restricted to those of a certain age who have been properly trained and selected (537e-539e). I argue that the warning in Republic VII points to a disagreement between the views expressed by the character `Socrates' in the Republic, and the views expressed by the character `Socrates' in the Apology. I do so by showing that Republic's description (...) of the problem as well as Plato's prescriptions for solving it can only be understood under the assumption that `dialectic' in this passage refers to questioning or refutation in general, and as such must include Socratic practices within its scope. This disagreement represents a more general disagreement about the path to the good life and the role of philosophy in living life well, and raises questions concerning Plato's opinion of the trial of Socrates. (shrink)
There are two different approaches to the Hippias Major. The first emphasises its conformity to a pattern, with the aim of uncovering a single argumentative structure common to several ‘Socratic’ dialogues. The second approach emphasises elements specific to the Hippias Major, including dramatic features such as character, with the aim of finding the best reading of the dialogue taken individually. I make use of the second approach to show that a careful reading of the dialogue by itself does not support (...) the widely held view that Socrates’ interlocutor, the sophist Hippias, misunderstands the central question. I propose a new basis for the Socrates-Hippias exchange which gives an important role to the notion of explanation, and I show that this reading enables us to detect and analyse an argument presented against the position advocated by Hippias. I make a connection between the interpretation defended here and some broader issues about our understanding of the development of Plato’s philosophy. (shrink)
This book considers the emergence of dialectic out of the spirit of dialogue and traces the relation between the two. It moves from Plato, for whom dialectic is necessary to destroy incorrect theses and attain thinkable being, to Cusanus, to modern philosophers—Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher and Gadamer, for whom dialectic becomes the driving force behind the constitution of a rational philosophical system. Conceived as a logical enterprise, dialectic strives to liberate itself from dialogue, which it views as merely accidental and (...) even disruptive of thought, in order to become a systematic or scientific method. The Cartesian autonomous and universal yet utterly monological and lonely subject requires dialectic alone to reason correctly, yet dialogue, despite its unfinalizable and interruptive nature, is what constitutes the human condition. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the way in which Plato’s Sophist rethinks his lifelong dialogue with Heraclitus. Plato uses a concept of logos in this dialogue that is much more Heraclitean than his earlier concept of the logos. I argue that he employs this concept in order to resolve those problems with his earlier theory of ideas that he had brought to light in the Parmenides. I argue that the concept of the dialectic that the Stranger develops rejects, rather than (...) continues, the idea reached at the end of the Theatetus that knowledge has to be grounded in a nous aneu logou (a non-logical, divine intellect) even while the Stranger appropriates the concerns that lead to his conclusion. Ultimately, I suggest that my differentiation of the later Plato’s appropriation of the tradition from Aristotle’s appropriation of that tradition is closely related to the re-thinking of the full sense of logos in the later Heidegger on Heraclitus and on Parmenides. I end by suggesting that the question that Plato and Heraclitus pose to us is to ask what such a divine logos tells about human ways of knowing. (shrink)
This paper explores the way in which the art of weaving, as it is initially presented in Plato’s Statesman, serves to configure both the fundamental character ofdiscourse and the limit experience of discourse for Plato. The problem that arises in relation to this configuration pertains to the possible unity of discourse (and with it the acquisition of knowledge). In relation to the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer and his reading of Plato, it is argued that the unity of discourse follows “the (...) arithmos structure of the logos” with its distinctive dialectical character. It is concluded that this character expresses the finitude of knowing in which oppositions remain in tension. (shrink)
The review argues that Plato makes a valid distinction between inferior hypothetical and superior unhypothetical methods. Given the distinction, the book confuses the hypothetical for unhypothetical dialectic.
What is paradoxical about the Socratic paradoxes is that they are not paradoxical at all. Socrates famously argued that knowledge is sufficient for virtue and that no one errs willingly. Both doctrines are discussed in the Protagoras between Socrates and the Abderian sophist, however the argumentative line that Socrates chooses to follow in order to refute ‘the many’ has raised a serious degree of controversy among scholars. Is Socrates upholding the hedonistic view? Or, is he only trying to show the (...) bankruptcy of the explanation of akrasia as ‘being overcome by pleasure’ which ‘the many’ advocate? Socrates intends to do the latter, showing that this hedonistic explanation of akrasia leads to absurdity. Plato’s and Socrates’ identification of goodness with pleasure would mark a sudden and unexplained departure from their moral theories, and would render the Socratic denial of akrasia an argument with limited range –only for those assuming hedonism. If we are correct to hold that Socrates does not intend to identify the good with the pleasant, then we are immediately put against a new and much more difficult challenge; that is, to suggest how the Socratic denial of akrasia could regain its catholic plausibility against the commonsensical stance to akrasia, namely that people act against their best judgment due to their impotence to resist to motivational forces such as pleasure, pain, fear, passion and love. Socrates does not offer any other explicit account –apart from the hedonistic one- of how his doctrine could be catholically defended; hence the task of decoding the Socratic line of thought is far from an easy one. The key move in order to decode the puzzling Socratic doctrine is to understand how Socrates treats the notion of ‘knowledge’. For Socrates, moral knowledge is distinguished from mere belief; in this sense, only knowledge has the commanding power which enables one to sustain his best evaluative judgment against other motivational forces and only knowledge is sufficient for the virtuous conduct. By contrast, as mere belief is susceptible to other motivational forces like pleasure, pain, fear, etc. its possessor will, in turn, be susceptible to the revision of his intentions which derive from his best value judgment. In the Protagoras, Socrates implies that intentions grounded on belief can be ‘dragged around’ by desire; and according to my view in this paper, this Socratic stance allows a non-epistemic interpretation of his thesis. According to the traditional epistemic interpretation of the Socratic denial of akrasia, one’s wrongdoing is always a miscalculation that takes place on his practical syllogism. However, my understanding of the Socratic denial of akrasia allows cases of one even going against his best judgment, when his judgment is based on belief. In that sense, a judgment grounded on belief has insufficient power to guarantee that the chosen action will follow, whereas only judgments grounded on knowledge have a commanding and lordly power. For Socrates, everyone always goes for the good but only those with knowledge can infallibly discover and act on the good. Those with mere belief can only reach an apparent good, which may be good or bad. The motivation for the good is not unshakeable for those with mere belief since the grounding of their belief is scarcely strong enough to hold on the correct intention. Socrates therefore holds that the grounding of knowledge influences the motivational state of the moral agent. Thereupon, my interpretation differs from others in suggesting that for Socrates not all the cases of akrasia are cognitive mistakes in their judgment. Rather I hold, in opposition to the received stance on akrasia, that Socrates allows that one could act against his best judgment, when the latter is grounded on mere belief. (shrink)
Marina McCoy defends three interrelated claims about the topic mentioned in her title. First, the distinction between philosophy and rhetoric in the dialogues is not as clear as some commentators seem to think. Second, since philosophy as practiced by Socrates includes important rhetorical dimensions, there is no important methodological distinction between philosophy and rhetoric. Third, it is his virtues—and not any particular method—that differentiate Socrates the philosopher from sophists and rhetoricians. McCoy pursues different aspects of her theses through the Apology, (...) Protagoras, Gorgias, Republic, Sophist , and Phaedrus.Her approach coheres with that of a contemporary school of interpretation according to which a proper appreciation of the dramatic setting of each dialogue will show that the content of Socratic conversation is not meant to be a body of substantive philosophical doctrine. Rather, Socrates’ quarry is the souls of his interlocutors. McCoy’s contribution to this line of. (shrink)
Plato wrote dialogues, and he praised dialectic, or conversation, as a suitable style for fruitful philosophical investigation. His works are great literature; and nodoubt this quality derives much from their form as dialogues. They also have definite philosophical content; and an important part of this content is their dialecticalepistemology. Dialectic is part of the content of Plato's philosophy. Can we reconcile this content with his literary style? I shall examine and sharpen the sense of this problem by referring to four (...) passages from different works of Plato: Parmenides 132b-c, Protagoras 351-2, Sophist 248-9, Republic 592. In these passages we can distinguish a main position, which represents what it is natural to label Platonism, from a line of thought which diverges from that position and yet also seems authentically Platonic. I argue that the solution to this tension lies in the notion of dialectic as a tentative and exploratory method of philosophy. This view of dialectic is in some conflict with Plato's official account of the method as guaranteed to deliver fundamental truth; but that conflict presents one more version of the phenomenon which I am exploring. The theory of dialectic provides philosophical support for the method of dialogue. That is how philosophy and literature are linked in Plato's pursuit of truth. (shrink)
Marina McCoy explores Plato's treatment of the rhetoric of philosophers and sophists through a thematic treatment of six different Platonic dialogues, including Apology, Protagoras, Gorgias, Republic, Sophist, and Phaedras. She argues that Plato presents the philosopher and the sophist as difficult to distinguish, insofar as both use rhetoric as part of their arguments. Plato does not present philosophy as rhetoric-free, but rather shows that rhetoric is an integral part of philosophy. However, the philosopher and the sophist are distinguished by the (...) philosopher's love of the forms as the ultimate objects of desire. It is this love of the forms that informs the philosopher's rhetoric, which he uses to lead his partner to better understand his deepest desires. McCoy's work is of interest to philosophers, classicists, and communications specialists alike in its careful yet comprehensive treatment of philosophy, sophistry, and rhetoric as portrayed through the drama of the dialogues. (shrink)