Craft, Dialectic, and the Form of the Good

C. D. C. Reeve

in Blindness and Reorientation

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199934430
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980659 | DOI:
Craft, Dialectic, and the Form of the Good

Show Summary Details


This chapter argues that the notion of a technē (craft) provided a template for the wisdom Socrates searched for in vain, and for the Platonic conception of philosophy. Some crafts treat their first principles as accessible to perception; others treat them as hypotheses. In Republic 5–6, Socrates shows that ethics cannot do either. Dialectic (a successor of the elenchus) is introduced to solve the problem of first principles, rendering them unhypothetical by defending them against all aporetic objection. The good, as a paradigm of rational order, raises special problems for ethics, since there it must be a pleasant object of desire. Is it desired, then, because it is an ideal of rational order, or because it is pleasant? A discussion of the Philebus shows how Plato resolved this problem.

Keywords: technē; hippocratic writers; Aristotle; Dialectic; the good as rational order; pleasure; Philebus

Chapter.  11253 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.