Clitophon's Challenge: Dialectic in Plato's Meno, Phaedo, by Hugh H. Benson

By Hugh H. Benson

Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's resolution to Clitophon's problem, the query of the way one could gather the information Socrates argues is key to human flourishing-knowledge all of us appear to lack. Plato indicates tools through which this data can be won: the 1st is studying from those that have already got the data one seeks, and the second one is getting to know the data one seeks on one's personal.

The e-book starts with a short examine a few of the Socratic dialogues the place Plato seems to be to suggest the previous strategy whereas concurrently indicating a variety of problems in pursuing it. the rest of the e-book makes a speciality of Plato's suggestion in a few of his most crucial and critical dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for engaging in the second one method: de novo inquiry. The publication turns first to the well-known paradox about the probability of such an inquiry and explores Plato's obvious resolution. Having defended the potential of de novo inquiry as a reaction to Clitophon's problem, Plato explains the tactic or technique through which such inquiry is to be performed. The ebook defends the debatable thesis that the strategy of speculation, as defined and practiced within the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, whilst practiced competently, Plato's instructed approach to buying on one's personal the basic wisdom we lack. the strategy of speculation whilst practiced adequately is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is often Plato's reaction to Clitophon's challenge.

"This is a brand new e-book on a seriously vital subject, technique, because it is explored in 3 of crucial works via some of the most vital philosophers within the very lengthy historical past of philosophy, written through a student of foreign stature who's operating from a long time of expertise and at the moment on the most sensible of his online game. It delivers to be some of the most very important books ever written in this subject."-Nicholas Smith, James F. Miller Professor of Humanities, Lewis and Clark College

"The thesis is daring and the consequences are very important for our figuring out of a few of the main studied and debatable dialogues through and philosophical theses in Plato. for my part, Hugh Benson's exam of the strategy of speculation within the Meno and the Phaedo is a journey de strength of sophisticated and cautious scholarship: i feel that this a part of the publication could be followed because the general interpretation of this simple proposal in Plato. a superb and critical book."-Charles Brittain, Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters, Cornell University

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Extra resources for Clitophon's Challenge: Dialectic in Plato's Meno, Phaedo, and Republic

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The question is what method of learning does Plato recommend and endorse in the elenctic dialogues? 23 Socratic Recommendations The question to be addressed in this chapter has two parts: [i] W  hat method does Socrates recommend in the elenctic dialogues to others for learning the robust virtue-knowledge they lack? [ii] What method does Socrates employ on his own behalf in these same dialogues to learn the robust virtue-knowledge he lacks? The answers to each of these questions could be different.

Recall also that Vlastos’s “elenctic knowledge” is introduced as precisely the kind of knowledge that the elenchos is capable of yielding (Vlastos 1985; 1994, ch. 2). See also Gentzler (1995, 227). 3. My use of “atomic proposition” is meant only to distinguish what the constructivist thinks the elenchos can achieve from what everyone would allow that the elenchos can achieve. , can establish that the proposition (p & q & r & not-s) is false or that not-(p & q & r & not-s) is true. Constructivists maintain, however, that it can also establish that not-s is false or that s is true; see Vlastos (1994, 20–21).

But there remains a serious point, and to miss it would be unfortunate. At least part of Plato’s point in the Hippias Minor is to exhibit the inadequacy of the traditional paternalistic/ 46. Socrates indicates that if he discovers that they do not have the wisdom they profess to care about he reproaches them, presumably to encourage them to join in the search for the virtue-knowledge they lack (Apology 30A1–2). 47. ” 48. I owe this objection to the late Shyam Patwardhan, one of my students in a seminar I offered a few years ago, although he proposed it in a somewhat different way.

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