Socratic Perplexity: and the Nature of Philosophy

Paperback | November 14, 2003

byGareth B. Matthews

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Gareth Matthews suggests that we can better understand the nature of philosophical inquiry if we recognize the central role played by perplexity. The seminal representation of philosophical perplexity is in Plato's dialogues; Matthews invites us to view this as a response to somethinginherently problematic in the basic notions that philosophy deals with. He examines the intriguing shifts in Plato's attitude to perplexity and suggests that this development may be seen as an archetypal pattern that philosophers follow even today. So it is that one may be won over to philosophy inthe first place by the example of a Socratic teacher who displays an uncanny gift at getting one perplexed about something one thought one understood perfectly well. Later, however, wanting like Plato to move beyond perplexity to produce philosophical 'results', one may be chagrined to discover thatone's very best attempt to develop a philosophical theory induces its own perplexity. Then, like late Plato and like Aristotle, the philosopher may seek to 'normalize' perplexity in a way that both allows for progress and yet respects the peculiarly baffling character of philosophicalquestions.

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Gareth Matthews suggests that we can better understand the nature of philosophical inquiry if we recognize the central role played by perplexity. The seminal representation of philosophical perplexity is in Plato's dialogues; Matthews invites us to view this as a response to somethinginherently problematic in the basic notions that phi...

Gareth B. Matthews is at University of Massachusetts.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:148 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.47 inPublished:November 14, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198238886

ISBN - 13:9780198238881

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Table of Contents

1. Perplexity and the Figure of Socrates2. Perplexity and the Beginning of Philosophy3. Getting Perplexed about the Virtues4. Getting Perplexed about Divine Normativity5. Shared Perplexity: The Self-Stinging Stingray6. Avoiding Perplexity: The Paradox of Inquiry7. Purely Instrumental Perplexity8. Second-Order Perplexity9. Professionalized Perplexity: The Midwife10. Perplexity as Itself a Target of Inquiry11. Perplexity and Methodology in Aristotle12. Socratic Perplexity and the Nature of PhilosophyBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition contains many insightful remarks, particularly for someone with some familiarity with Plato, both about the dialogues and about philosophy as it is practised today.'Iakovos Vasiliou, Bryn Mawr Classical Review