Dialogue and Discovery: A Study in Socratic Method

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SUNY Press, 1987 - Philosophy - 179 pages
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This book examines the Socratic method of elenchus, or refutation. Refutation by its very nature is a conflict, which in the hands of Plato becomes high drama. The continuing conversation in which it occurs is more a test of character than of intellect. Dialogue and Discovery shows that, in his conversations, Socrates seeks to define moral qualities-moral essences-with the goal of improving the soul of the respondent.

Ethics underlies epistemology because the discovery of philosophic truth imposes moral demands on the respondent. The recognition that moral qualities such as honesty, humility, and courage are necessary to successful inquiry is the key to the understanding of the Socratic paradox that virtue is knowledge.

The dialogues receiving the most emphasis are the Apology, Gorgias, Protagoras, and Meno.
 

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Contents

Socratic Philosophy and the Dialogue Form
1
2 DIALOGUE AND THE WRITTEN WORD
4
3 HIDING BEHIND THE WRITTEN WORD
8
4 EPISTEMOLOGICAL OPTIMISM
10
5 IMPENDING TRAGEDY
13
6 THE FUSION OF TRAGEDY AND COMEDY
16
Dialogue and the Search for Essence
23
2 SOCRATIC ESSENTIALISM
26
7 SOCRATIC PIETY
90
Socrates as Teacher
97
1 GETTING OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT
98
2 ELENCTIC EDUCATION
100
3 KNOWING AND REMEMBERING
103
4 RECOLLECTION AND IMMORTALITY
107
5 THE DUTY TO INQUIRE
110
Socrates and the Teaching of Virtue
117

3 TWO QUALIFICATIONS
30
4 DEFINITION AND REFUTATION
32
5 REFUTATION AND RECOLLECTION
35
6 METHOD AND MORALS
37
7 A SISYPHEAN DILEMMA
44
Socrates as Speech Maker
55
1 RHETORIC AS AN APPEAL TO PROBABILITY
56
2 BEATING THE RHETORICIANS AT THEIR OWN GAME
58
3 RHETORIC AND MORAL IMPROVEMENT
61
4 THE PURPOSE OF PARODY
64
5 A BENEFACTOR TO THE CITY?
67
Socrates as Hero
73
1 THE CONTEXT OF THE TRIAL
74
2 SOCRATES MISSON
77
3 KNOWING THAT ONE DOES NOT KNOW
81
TEMPERANCE
84
5 COURAGE
87
6 JUSTICE
89
1 PROTAGORAS AND GORGIAS ON MORAL IMPROVEMENT
119
2 SOCRATIC DOUBTS ABOUT THE TEACHING OF VIRTUE
121
3 MEMOS NEED FOR VIRTUE AND THE THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF ELENCHUS
123
4 VIRTUE TEACHING AND RECOLLECTION
127
5 DID MENO LEARN VIRTUE?
129
6 PLATONIC AFTERTHOUGHTS
131
Conclusion Virtue and Knowledge
135
1 VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY BEHAVIOR
136
2 PHILOSOPHY AS THERAPY
139
3 SISYPHUS REVISITED
142
4 SOCRATES INTELLECTUALISM
144
WHAT SOCRATES CAN AND CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR
145
6 PLATO AND THE TRAGIC DIMENSION OF SOCRATIC THOUGHT
149
Gorgias Apology of Palamedes
155
Bibliography
163
Index of Names
171
Index of Subjects
173
Index of Sources
175

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About the author (1987)

Kenneth Seeskin is Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor of Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University. His books include Jewish Philosophy in a Secular Age, also published by SUNY Press.

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