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|Title:||Socrates' Simile of the Cave|
|Doctoral Committee Chair(s):||Fields, A. Belden|
|Department / Program:||Political Science|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
Political Science, General
|Abstract:||Socrates has been widely understood as trying to find a master key to the world of Being, which is distinct from the world of appearances. His question is taken to be a request for a universal definition, which holds the key. However, the notions like "the other world" or "the universal definition" are highly mysterious and some philosophical confusions are involved in it. Furthermore, there are many passages in which Socrates himself denies his engagement in any activity of that nature. This is an attempt to describe some formal features of his philosophy with the conceptual tools provided by Wittgenstein.
The present work consists of three parts. (1) Socrates' question in the form of "what is F?" may be a request for universal definition. A mistaken idea of "the relation between language and the world" is involved here. This mistake is like, in form, supposing that the use of a word in one context guarantees a priori the same use in another different context. As to Socrates, there are indications in some dialogues that he may very well be questioning the conceptual intelligibility of such a notion. Or he may be just talking about the particular subject matter in each dialogue with little implication to the question of universal. (2) Perhaps, Socrates, when he says virtue is knowledge but it can't be taught, meant by "knowledge" something similar to what Wittgenstein calls the "mastery of a technique". If so, the mastery of virtue involves a certain sensibility to what is often expressed by the "absolute", the "infinite", or the "divine". The Socratic search for the idea of good can be understood as a pursuit after the ideal. There is a sense in which this pursuit can be said to be definitive of the self. (3) The Socratic philosophy, thus understood, has its place only within a human society. Philosophy is neither incompatible with politics nor it is tragic. On the contrary, the Socratic philosopher has his role to play in society. And the role is closely related to politics because political questions such as justice, good counsel, the good of the whole, etc. are located at the center of the philosopher's interest.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-12-17|