David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3) (2007)
: Aristotle holds that it was Socrates who first made frequent, systematic use of epagôgç in his elenctic investigations of various definitions of the virtues (Meta. 1078b7–32). Plato and Xenophon also target epagôgç as an innovative, distinguishing mark of Socratic methodology when they have Socrates' interlocutors complain that Socrates prattles on far too much about "his favorite topic" (Mem. 1.2.37)—blacksmiths, cobblers, cooks, physicians, and other such tiresome craftspeople—in order to generate and test general principles concerning the alleged craft of virtue. It is remarkable, then, how little secondary literature exists on this subject—moreover, several of the few accounts we do have naively assume that epagôgç is the same as modern inductive generalization. Others are in conflict as to whether, for example, we can find any legitimate instances of probabilistic inductive epagôgç in the Socratic dialogues. This paper addresses these and other issues by offering a new, critical account of Socratic epagôgç—one tied to its occurrences in several key Socratic elenchoi
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