Chapter

The Socratic Concept of Truth

Donald Davidson

in Truth, Language, and History

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780198237570
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602610 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019823757X.003.0016
The Socratic Concept of Truth

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This essay explores the question of why Socrates practiced the elenctic method. It argues that the elenchus is a method that generally leads to truth, and suggests that Socrates was convinced that he himself would gain in wisdom and clarity from elenctic exchanges with others, even if they were not as wise as he. People mean what others can take them to mean; to learn what we mean is to learn what others we talk with mean. The understanding of others, agreeing with them on basic concepts, clarity about what we mean, come — to the extent that they do — together. The elenchus is a model of our only method for promoting these ends.

Keywords: Socrates; Vlastos; elenchus; elenctic method; truth; communication

Chapter.  4108 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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