Socrates Mystagogos: Initiation into inquiry

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Routledge, Oct 14, 2016 - History - 200 pages
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For Socrates, philosophy is not like Christian conversion from error to truth, but rather it is like the pagan process whereby a young man is initiated into cult mysteries by a more experienced man - the mystagogos - who prepares him and leads him to the sacred precinct. In Greek cult religion, the mystagogos prepared the initiate for the esoteric mysteries revealed by the hierophant. Socrates treats traditional wisdom with scepticism, and this makes him appear ridiculous or dangerous in the eyes of cultural conservatives. Nevertheless, his scepticism is not radical: custom is not something on which we must turn our backs if we are to pursue the truth. Socrates assumes an epistemology and employs a method by which he induces his companions to begin the critical and self-critical process of philosophical inquiry, not ignoring conventional wisdom, but thinking through and reinterpreting it as they make constructive progress towards the truth. He provides conclusive and convincing arguments in support of controversial answers to some of the most important moral questions he poses.


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Socratic piety
2W VSocratic epistemology
Refutation induction and the use of examples
3W VSocratic method
Interpretive misconceptions
4W VSocratic piety
General index

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About the author (2016)

Don Adams received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College and from there went directly to Cornell University, where he studied with Terence Irwin, Gail Fine, and Norman Kretzmann. His Ph.D. dissertation was a comparative study of love and friendship in the moral theories of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas. He has taught logic and the history of European philosophy - especially ancient Greek philosophy - at about half a dozen colleges and universities across the United States. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at Central Connecticut State University.

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