Overview

Socratic paradox


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Rather than a strict paradox, the term refers to either of two surprising and unacceptable conclusions drawn from the Socratic dialogues of Plato: (i) the startling consequence of Socrates's association of knowledge and virtue, according to which nobody ever does wrong knowingly; (ii) the view that nobody knows what they mean when they use a term unless they can provide an explicit definition of it. Although this last is sometimes called the Socratic fallacy, this can be regarded as being uncharitable to Socrates, whose concern was not simply with meaning, but more with notions like justice or reason, for which our inability to provide principles may well reflect ignorance and muddle. On the first issue, see akrasia.

(i) the startling consequence of Socrates's association of knowledge and virtue, according to which nobody ever does wrong knowingly; (ii) the view that nobody knows what they mean when they use a term unless they can provide an explicit definition of it.

Subjects: Philosophy.


Reference entries

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