Pragmatic Platonism

Teaching Philosophy 27 (1):33-44 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper describes a method and a practical exercise that offers students a glimpse of everyday enlightenment by using Socrates’ technique of questioning, Plato’s account of the ascent to the form of the good, along with an aspect of Buddha’s Eight Fold Path. The practical exercise prompts students to consider the form of honesty by considering what honesty is for them. The exercise then proceeds to a discussion of how they know they are honest and what rules one must follow to be honest. With this initial account of honesty, the paper then details a set of “proto-philosophical questions” that challenges the student to further articulate their account of honesty, to compare it to dishonesty, and to contextualize it by imagining themselves as the victim of deception or as a deceiver.

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