The Structure of Dialectic in the Meno

Phronesis 46 (4):413-439 (2001)
Abstract
In this paper I offer a new interpretation of the philosophical method of the "Meno." In the opening discussion of the dialogue, Plato introduces a restriction on answers in dialectical inquiry, which I call the Dialectical Requirement (DR). The DR is applied twice in the "Meno," in different ways (75d5-7, 79d1-3). In the first section of the paper, I argue that the two applications of the DR represent the beginning and end of dialectic. This shows that dialectical inquiry starts from our linguistic competence with the name of the property we investigate, and ends only when we have an account saying what is common to and explanatory of the bearers of that property. Dialectic begins in our ordinary ability to speak and think about the world, and ends in genuine grasp of the underlying causes of nature. In the second section, I describe the resources of linguistic competence, and their role in dialectical progress. Our linguistic competence with the name of a property enables us to make a wide variety of statements about the property and its bearers in ordinary discourse. In dialectic, these ordinary statements act as a portfolio in which the property under investigation is presented to us writ large, through its instances, types, species, etc. We seek to develop an account that says what is common to, and explanatory of the phenomena in the portfolio. When an account is inconsistent with one of the things we tend to say, this demands revision either in the account, or in the portfolio of statements. In this way, the process by which we develop our account also helps to organize and revise the statements in our portfolio so that they and the account ultimately form a coherent, explanatory body of statements
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Annamaria Schiaparelli (2009). Plotinus on Dialectic. Archiv für Geschichte Der Philosophie 91 (3):253-287.
    Matthew King (2007). The Meno's Metaphilosophical Examples. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):395-412.
    Joel Kovel (2008). Dialectic as Praxis. In Bertell Ollman & Tony Smith (eds.), Dialectics for the New Century. Palgrave Macmillan. 474 - 482.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2010-08-31

    Total downloads

    9 ( #128,855 of 1,088,790 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,790 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.