Clitophons Challenge: Dialectic in Platos Meno, Phaedo, and Republic

Hardcover | May 15, 2015

byHugh H. Benson

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Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from thosewho already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one's own. The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where Plato appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato's recommendation in some of his most important and centraldialogues - the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato's apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response toClitophon's challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato's recommended method ofacquiring on one's own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato's response to Clitophon's challenge.

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Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from thosewho already have the knowledge one seeks, a...

Hugh H. Benson is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. He is a Samuel Roberts Noble Presidential Professor, the editor of Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates (OUP 1992), Blackwell Companion to Plato (Blackwell, 2006), and the author of Socratic Wisdom (OUP 2000) and various article...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.18 inPublished:May 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199324832

ISBN - 13:9780199324835

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Table of Contents

1. Clitophon's Challenge2. Learning from Others in the Elenctic Dialogues3. Meno's Paradox and the Theory of Recollection4. The Method of Hypothesis: Not A Mere Second Best5. The Method of Hypothesis: A Preliminary Sketch6. The Method of Hypothesis: Socrates at Work in the Meno7. The Method of Hypothesis: Socrates at Work in the Phaedo8. The Method of Hypothesis: Socrates At Work in the Republic9. Dialectic in the RepublicBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The thesis is bold and the results are important for our understanding of some of the most studied and controversial dialogues by and philosophical theses in Plato. In my view, Hugh Benson's examination of the method of hypothesis in the Meno and the Phaedo is a tour de force of subtle andcareful scholarship: I think that this part of the book will be adopted as the standard interpretation of this basic notion in Plato. An excellent and important book." --Charles Brittain, Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters, Cornell University