Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from those who already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one's own. The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where Plato (...) appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato's recommendation in some of his most important and central dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato's apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response to Clitophon's challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato's recommended method of acquiring on one's own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato's response to Clitophon's challenge. (shrink)
While the early Platonic dialogues have often been explored and appreciated for their ethical content, this is the first book devoted solely to the epistemology of Plato's early dialogues. Author Hugh H. Benson argues that the characteristic features of these dialogues- -Socrates' method of questions and answers, his fascination with definition, his professions of ignorance, and his thesis that virtue is knowledge- -are decidedly epistemological. In this thoughtful study, Benson uncovers the model of knowledge that underlies these distinctively Socratic views. (...) What emerges is unfamiliar, yet closer to a contemporary conception of scientific understanding than ordinary knowledge. (shrink)
The last two decades have witnessed a virtual explosion of research in Socratic philosophy. This volume collects essays that represent the range and diversity of that vast literature, including historical and philosophical essays devoted to a single Platonic dialogue, as well as essays devoted to the Socratic method, Socratic epistemology, and Socratic ethics. With lists of suggested further readings, an extensive bibliography on recent Socratic research, and an index locorum, this unique and much-needed anthology makes the study of Socratic philosophy (...) accessible to both scholars and non-specialists. (shrink)
This broad-ranging _Companion_ comprises original contributions from leading Platonic scholars and reflects the different ways in which they are dealing with Plato’s legacy. Covers an exceptionally broad range of subjects from diverse perspectives Contributions are devoted to topics, ranging from perception and knowledge to politics and cosmology Allows readers to see how a position advocated in one of Plato’s dialogues compares with positions advocated in others Permits readers to engage the debate concerning Plato’s philosophical development on particular topics Also includes (...) overviews of Plato’s life, works and philosophical method. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Dialectic with a Small “d” Plato on Dialectic in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic Plato's Practice of Dialectic in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic The Second‐Best Method Note.
After an introductory discussion primarily aimed to differentiate her approach to reading the Platonic dialogues from the so-called argument-focused approach, Gordon argues that Socratic dialectic—which she understands as “the question and answer depicted in the dialogues between Socrates and the interlocutors”—does not simply aim at uncovering inconsistencies in the interlocutors’ belief sets, but at urging through extra-logical means the interlocutors to live a particular—philosophical—kind of life. Next, she argues via a discussion of reader response theory for the parallelism between Socrates’ (...) relationship with his interlocutors and Plato’s relationship with his readers. Thus, Plato, like Socrates, should be seen as urging his readers through extra-logical means to live a particular life—‘to turn toward philosophy’. The remainder of the book consists of four chapters devoted to discussing the extra-logical means by which Plato accomplishes this urging—his use of dramatic effects, his use of character development, his use of irony, and his use of images. While I presume that Gordon would not object to my parenthetical inclusion of ‘logical’ in the description of her argument, it is clear that the focus of her attention in this book is the extra-logical means. (shrink)