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Author Topic: I finally figured out why I don't like Socrates  (Read 2467 times)
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moonshadow
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« on: March 28, 2011, 02:30:36 AM »

I had always considered what I understood the Socratic Method to be somewhat simplistic and unsatisfying, but was not quite able to precisely formulate why I felt that way. Part of this may have been due to I had never seriously studied philosophy and part of it may have been due to my hesitancy to question something about which I felt I didn't have a complete grasp of other than having read some of the Socratic dialogs.

After reading what Vox Day had to say about it on his blog http://voxday.blogspot.com/2011/03/mailvox-on-socrates.html, the light bulb finally clicked on and I felt rather pleased that my initial vague dissatisfaction with Socrates was not only vindicated, but now I actually had some reasons for feeling that way.

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I have not gone through the various dialogues with the same close attention that I paid to Euthyphro, but as I demonstrated in my critique of it, Socrates demonstrates an astonishingly dishonest willingness to apply a false equivalency in order to complete his structurally illogical argument. Despite my regular use of the Socratic method to discredit and humiliate overmatched critics, I have little regard for it as a method to determine truth because it often relies upon artificially simplifying multi-faceted concepts into a single binary question. The Socratic method is far from useless, but I see it as being a rhetorical weapon than a philosophical device. Which, naturally, raises the question of why Socrates made such heavy use of it and for what purpose.

(Bold added for emphasis)


In FIBs open shouts I see a lot of simplistic Socratic rhetoric, which is probably why I don't find shouts very satisfying either.
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« on: March 28, 2011, 02:30:36 AM »

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pck
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 06:37:27 AM »

I believe there may be some confusion on Mr. Beale's part concerning Socrates's arguments on the one hand and his method on the other. While any of Socrates's individual arguments may strike a contemporary reader as overly reductionist or guided by no longer sustainable hypotheses, his method does by no means require the simplification "into a single binary question". Nor is it designed to "discredit and humiliate".

[Emphases in the following quotes are mine.]

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method

The Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, Socratic irony, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defence of one point of view is pitted against the defence of another; one participant may lead another to contradict him in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point. (Think about the question before you speak.)

The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape opinion, and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs. The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, exploring the definitions or logoi (singular logos), seeking to characterize the general characteristics shared by various particular instances. The extent to which this method is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding, is called the method of maieutics. Aristotle attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of the scientific method. Perhaps oddly, however, Aristotle also claimed that this method is not suitable for ethics.


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical

Dialectic (also called dialectics or the dialectical method) is a method of argument, which has been central to both Indic and European philosophy since ancient times. The word "dialectic" originates in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in his Socratic dialogues. Dialectic is based on a dialogue between two or more people who may hold differing views, yet wish to seek the truth of the matter through the exchange of their viewpoints while applying reason. This differs from a debate, in which both sides are committed to their viewpoint and only wish to win the debate by persuading or proving themselves right (or the other side wrong) – and thus a jury or judge is often needed to decide the matter. It also differs from rhetoric, which is oratory that appeals to logos, pathos, or ethos. Rhetoric is communication designed to persuade an audience to side with a particular argument or action.


So what we see in fibs shouts is mostly debate, not dialogue.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 06:45:59 AM by pck » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 06:37:27 AM »

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moonshadow
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 01:02:17 PM »

While any of Socrates's individual arguments may strike a contemporary reader as overly reductionist or guided by no longer sustainable hypotheses .  .   .

This is clearly where I fall.

So what we see in fibs shouts is mostly debate, not dialogue.

Yes, the distinction between dialog and debate is very important.

I do wonder though how wiki would define a purported debate where the object of the exercise is not really a debate but a speed test to see how fast a shouter can google-cut-paste (GCP) quotations I suspect they themselves don't fully comprehend.

Forget rational debate, what's your GCP per minute?






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pck
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 04:14:55 PM »

This is clearly where I fall.

Give a guy a break who died 2400 years ago.

Forget rational debate, what's your GCP per minute?

Sign of the times I guess. Views on concepts such as knowledge and information have changed a lot since the onset of the computer age, in the eyes of the public as well as in science. It's as apparent in everyday language as it is in the (often misguided) conceptual background which is used to justify where the research money goes.
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 04:14:55 PM »

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Phaedrus
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 05:07:50 PM »


Some about retoric of Plato/Socrates quoting http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-rhetoric/#PlaDiaRhePoe

6. Plato's Dialogues as Rhetoric and Poetry

 Plato's critique of writing on the grounds that it is a poor form of rhetoric is itself written. Of course, his Socrates does not know that he is “speaking” in the context of a written dialogue; but the reader immediately discerns the puzzle. Does the critique apply to the dialogues themselves? If not, do the dialogues escape the critique altogether, or meet it in part (being inferior to “live” dialogue, but not liable to the full force of Socrates' criticisms)? Scholars dispute the answers to these well-known questions.[32]

 There is general agreement that Plato perfected—perhaps even invented—a new form of discourse. The Platonic dialogue is a innovative type of rhetoric, and it is hard to believe that it does not at all reflect—whether successfully or not is another matter—Plato's response to the criticisms of writing which he puts into the mouth of his Socrates.

 Plato's remarkable philosophical rhetoric incorporates elements of poetry. Most obviously, his dialogues are dramas with several formal features in common with much tragedy and comedy (for example, the use of authorial irony, the importance of plot, setting, the role of individual character and the interplay between dramatis personae). No character called “Plato” ever says a word in his texts. His works also narrate a number of myths, and sparkle with imagery, simile, allegory, and snatches of meter and rhyme. Indeed, as he sets out the city in speech in the Republic, Socrates calls himself a myth teller (376d9–10, 501e4–5). In a number of ways, the dialogues may be said to be works of fiction; none of them took place exactly as presented by Plato, several could not have taken place, some contain characters who never existed. These are imaginary conversations, imitations of certain kinds of philosophical conversations. The reader is undoubtedly invited to see him or herself reflected in various characters, and to that extent identify with them, even while also focusing on the arguments, exchanges, and speeches. Readers of Plato often refer to the “literary” dimension of his writings, or simply refer to them as a species of philosophical literature. Exactly what to make of his appropriation of elements of poetry is once again a matter of long discussion and controversy.[33]

 Suffice it to say that Plato's last word on the critique of poetry and rhetoric is not spoken in his dialogues, but is embodied in the dialogue form of writing he brought to perfection.
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