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Truth, Language, and HistoryPhilosophical Essays Volume 5$
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Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019823757X.001.0001

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Plato's Philosopher

Plato's Philosopher

(p.223) 15 Plato's Philosopher
Truth, Language, and History

Donald Davidson

Oxford University Press

This essay discusses Plato’s embrace of the Socratic elenchus, the inconclusive dialectic of conversational give and take wherein Socrates elicits a statement from his interlocutor, then sets out to show the statement’s inconsistency with other things the interlocutor believes. Someone who practices the elenchus can claim that he does not know what is true; it is enough that he has a method that leads to truth. It is only in the context of frank discussion, communication, and mutual exchange that trustworthy truths emerge.

Keywords:   Plato, Socrates, Socratic elenchus

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