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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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The Socratic Concept of Truth

The Socratic Concept of Truth

Chapter:
(p.241) 16 The Socratic Concept of Truth
Source:
Truth, Language, and History
Author(s):

Donald Davidson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019823757X.003.0016

This essay explores the question of why Socrates practiced the elenctic method. It argues that the elenchus is a method that generally leads to truth, and suggests that Socrates was convinced that he himself would gain in wisdom and clarity from elenctic exchanges with others, even if they were not as wise as he. People mean what others can take them to mean; to learn what we mean is to learn what others we talk with mean. The understanding of others, agreeing with them on basic concepts, clarity about what we mean, come — to the extent that they do — together. The elenchus is a model of our only method for promoting these ends.

Keywords:   Socrates, Vlastos, elenchus, elenctic method, truth, communication

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