Chapter

The Socratic Paradigm

A. A. Long

in Epictetus

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780199245567
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597923 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245568.003.0004
 The Socratic Paradigm

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Discusses the presence of Socrates in Epictetus’ Discourses. Plato's Gorgias was a principal source of inspiration for Epictetus, especially for his understanding and incorporation of the Socratic elenchus. On the basis of his concept of innate moral preconceptions, Epictetus arrived at an understanding of the Socratic elenchus strikingly similar to that proposed by Gregory Vlastos. He also shared with Plato's Socrates the belief that everyone has the motivation to pursue what they take to be good, with error due to failure of judgement and mental conflict. The chief aim of the Discourses is to undermine error by facilitating self‐examination and self‐discovery in terms of autonomous volition.

Keywords: elenchus; Epictetus; error; good; mental conflict; moral preconceptions; Plato; self‐discovery; self‐examination; Socrates; Socratic method

Chapter.  10872 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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