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Lecture

Features of Socratic Dialogues


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 3003F/G
Professor
Devin Henry

Page:
of 1
Theme is often about appearances VS reality
1.
Socrates seeks out people with a reputation of being wise about topic X
2.
Asking, what is F? and refining the answer
a.
Style of question and answer (elenchus)
3.
Often uses something familiar, like craftmanship, to extrapolate something about something
unknown, like virtue
i.
Argument from analogy
a.
i.
Inductive argument
b.
Structure of Socrates' arguments
4.
Does not supply answers, claims to not know and only works to refine others' answers
a.
Disavowal of knowledge (i.e. Socratic ignorance)
5.
Socrates insists that his interlocutors tell him what they thinks, not what they've heard other
people say
a.
To say what other people think is antithetical to the method - Socrates won't be able to dig deeper
into an idea that isn't yours/you can't explain
b.
Say what you believe
6.
Not a debate, i.e. to come out on top
a.
To engage in an inquiry and progress to the right answer together
b.
If you're wrong, who cares, it's not about winning - just move towards the truth
c.
Elenchus is a joint effort, not a competition
7.
What's the point of the irony? Why can't he just tell us the answer?
Does he know and is he simply just trying to lead people into ignorance?
Plato shows him as being sincerely ignorant and wanting to engage in genuine cooperative
inquiry
If the point of philosophy, for Plato, is to show philosophy in action (through dialogues) you
must present characters who themselves don't know at the beginning
Does he really not know and wants to find out?
Does Socrates (i.e. Plato) actually know the answer?
How can Socrates know if his interlocutors are right or wrong in their answers, if he himself doesn't
know the right answer?
Features of Socratic Dialogues
Thursday, September 15, 2011
12:54 PM
Plato Page 1