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EpictetusA Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life$
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A. A. Long

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199245568.001.0001

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The Socratic Paradigm

The Socratic Paradigm

(p.67) Chapter 3 The Socratic Paradigm

A. A. Long (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Discusses the presence of Socrates in Epictetus’ Discourses. Plato's Gorgias was a principal source of inspiration for Epictetus, especially for his understanding and incorporation of the Socratic elenchus. On the basis of his concept of innate moral preconceptions, Epictetus arrived at an understanding of the Socratic elenchus strikingly similar to that proposed by Gregory Vlastos. He also shared with Plato's Socrates the belief that everyone has the motivation to pursue what they take to be good, with error due to failure of judgement and mental conflict. The chief aim of the Discourses is to undermine error by facilitating self‐examination and self‐discovery in terms of autonomous volition.

Keywords:   elenchus, Epictetus, error, good, mental conflict, moral preconceptions, Plato, self‐discovery, self‐examination, Socrates, Socratic method

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