Oct 25 2014

Early Socratic Dialogues by Plato

It seems to me there is something flawed in the Socratic question and answer approach to discerning truth. A person may know what something is and even be an expert on it even if he does not know how to precisely define it. An ophthalmologist, for instance, knows what sight is and is competent to treat matters relating to sight even though he may not have the semantic skill to define it in words. Similarly, most people know what blue is, but I challenge anyone to define blue. I am partly persuaded that Socrates employs this method simply to make himself look clever and make others look foolish, rather than from any disinterested desire to discover the truth. Moreover, the editors point out several logical fallacies in his arguments; he was not himself immune to the kinds of errors he exposed in others. Socrates is considered the father of Western philosophy, but these dialogues leave me with the impression that he is vastly overrated.

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