Dialectic and Dialogue

Donald Davidson

in Truth, Language, and History

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780198237570
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602610 | DOI:
Dialectic and Dialogue

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This essay argues that the Socratic elenchus is a crucible in which some of our most important words, and the concepts they express are tested, melted down, reshaped, and given a new edge. It is a microcosm of the ongoing process of language formation itself, though a sophisticated and self-conscious microcosm which takes advantage of rich and complex linguistic and cultural institutions already in existence. To illustrate this point, a feature of elementary language learning is compared with the cooperative reworking of verbal usage that occurs in a dialectical exchange.

Keywords: Socrates; elenchus; language; elenctic method

Chapter.  3874 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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