Does Socrates Have a Method? [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):650-652 (2004)
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The book is divided into four sections, each featuring three essays followed by a response that serves as a sort of antistrophe. The first section addresses the historical origins of Socratic method, the second reexamines Vlastos’s analysis of “the Elenchus”; the third section challenges the assumptions of those who read the dialogues dogmatically by focusing on specific dialogues and highlighting the protreptic and deconstructive dimensions of Socrates’ philosophizing; finally, the fourth section offers a set of interpretations of the elenchus at work in the Charmides. According to Scott, the intention behind this structure is to “offer something of interest to all readers of Plato and students of Socrates”. While the volume certainly does this, its structure, as Scott himself recognizes, precludes genuine dialogue by granting the last word to the critics. Taken as a whole, however, the volume points to and helps flesh out the tension that has come to underlie Platonic scholarship in the English-speaking world over the past thirty years.



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Christopher Long
Michigan State University

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