Clitophon's Challenge: Dialectic in Plato's Meno, Phaedo, and Republic

Oxford University Press USA (2015)

Abstract

Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from those who already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one's own. The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where Plato appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato's recommendation in some of his most important and central dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato's apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response to Clitophon's challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato's recommended method of acquiring on one's own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato's response to Clitophon's challenge.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,634

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-10-14

Downloads
6 (#1,141,029)

6 months
1 (#388,784)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Similar books and articles

Plato: Meno and Phaedo.David Sedley - 1980 - Cambridge University Press.
Meno. Plato & G. M. A. Grube - 1949 - New York: Liberal Arts Press.
Meno.Renford Bambrough, Plato & R. S. Bluck - 1964 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 84:190-191.
Meno's Paradox in Context.David Ebrey - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (1):4-24.
Desire and Understanding in Plato's Philosophy of Education.Glenn Scott Rawson - 1997 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
Virtue, Practice, and Perplexity in Plato's Meno.William Wians - 2013 - Plato Journal (Plato 12 (2012)).
The Hypothetical Method in Plato's Middle Dialogues.Vassilios Karasmanis - 1987 - Dissertation, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Ethical Analysis in Plato's Earlier Dialogues.Norman Gulley - 1952 - Classical Quarterly 2 (1-2):74-.
Plato's Theory of Recollection.Norman Gulley - 1954 - Classical Quarterly 4 (3-4):194-.

Author's Profile

Hugh Benson
University of Oklahoma

Chapters

The Method of Hypothesis

This chapter explores Socrates’ response to Glaucon’s query whether Kallipolis is possible in the Republic. Here Plato displays in detail an application of the method of hypothesis. Socrates first identifies a hypothesis from which an answer to the question whether Kallipolis is possible c... see more

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

Dianoia & Plato’s Divided Line.Damien Storey - 2022 - Phronesis 67 (3):253-308.
Socratic Methods.Eric Brown - forthcoming - In Nicholas D. Smith, Russell E. Jones & Ravi Sharma (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Socrates, 2nd ed. London, UK:

View all 11 citations / Add more citations