New Perspectives on Platonic Dialectic
A Philosophy of Inquiry
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 25, 2022
This volume offers fresh perspectives on Platonic dialectic and provides novel interpretations of core aspects of Plato’s philosophy.
Plato’s account of dialectic is arguably the first systematic account of philosophical method in the Western philosophical tradition. The book’s chapters share two basic assumptions: dialectic is pivotal to understanding Platonic philosophy—including his ethics, epistemology, and ontology—and the current developmental approach to Platonic dialectic dominating contemporary scholarship hinders our understanding of Plato. Section I features essays that take a fresh look at the methods of elenchus, hypothesis, and collection and division that have received the most scrutiny in the literature. In Section II, the contributors shed light on aspects of dialectic that have so far not received sufficient attention because they do not fit squarely into the traditional framework, such as the use of examples, myths, and genealogical inquiries. The chapters in the final section examine the ways that the theoretical discussions of dialectic fit with the actual practice of dialectic in the dialogues and its larger ramifications in ethical and political life.
New Perspectives on Platonic Dialectic will appeal to scholars and advanced students interested in Plato, ancient philosophy, philosophical method, and the history of logic.
Table of Contents
Jens Kristian Larsen, Vivil Valvik Haraldsen, and Justin Vlasits
1. Socrates’ Dialectical use of Hypothesis
2. The Dialectician and the Statesman in Plato’s Euthydemus
3. Dialectic in Plato’s Parmenides: The Schooling of Young Socrates
4. Dialectic as a paradigm in the Republic: On the role of reason in the just life
Vivil Valvik Haraldsen
5. Elenchus and the Method of Division in the Sophist
6. Using Examples in Philosophical Inquiry: Plato’s Statesman 277d1-278e2 and 285c4-286b2
Jens Kristian Larsen
7. Examples in the Meno
Peter D. Larsen
8. Between Variety and Unity. How to deal with Plato´s Dialectic
9. Dialectic and the Ability to Orient Ourselves: Republic V-VII
10. Another Platonic Method: Four genealogical myths about human nature and their philosophical contribution in Plato
11. Dialectic in Plato's Sophist: The relation between the question ‘What is being?’ and the question ‘What is there?’
12. Dialectic as Philosophical Divination in Plato’s Phaedrus
13. Plato on the Varieties of Knowledge
Jens Kristian Larsen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at NTNU, Norway. He specializes in ancient philosophy, in particular Plato, and phenomenology. He recently published "What are Collections and Divisions Good for? A reconsideration of Plato’s Phaedrus" (2020) and co-edited the anthology Phenomenological Interpretations of Philosophy (2021).
Vivil Valvik Haraldsen is ph.d.-candidate in philosophy at the University of Oslo. She has published articles on Plato’s Republic and book chapters on Plato’s Protagoras, Phaedrus, and Apology of Socrates, and has co-edited the anthology Readings of Plato’s Apology of Socrates: Defending the Philosophical Life (2018).
Justin Vlasits is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He specializes in all periods of ancient philosophy, with special emphasis on logic and philosophy of science. He has co-edited Epistemology after Sextus Empiricus with Katja Maria Vogt (2020).
"I find this a most useful volume, in which interesting new insights on an admittedly fairly well-worn subject are presented. Its most important feature is an insistence on the continuity of Plato’s thought, and on the degree to which various different strategies of argument that appear in dialogues of various periods, the Socratic elenchus, hypothesis, and ‘collection and division’, are seen to be compatible and coherent. This goes counter to the views of many modern interpreters of Plato, but I think it is a perspective well worth developing, and it is accomplished with vigour here." – John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin