New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

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cb
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New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

Post by cb » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:48 am

Hi all, I'd like to let you know about a personal project that I've just posted to Amazon as a paperback.

It's a 'manual of Socratic method', explaining how to refute claims in conversations as Socrates did in Plato's Socratic dialogues. As far as I know, this is the only extant manual of Socratic method (I mean the 'Socratic method' used by Socrates, rather than the general question and answer approach used in schools/universities).

I had to build this from scratch basically, reading all the Socratic dialogues and collecting all 'conversational refutations', analysing them (both into their logical forms and their dialectical arrangements), and sorting them into models based on patterns I found running through them.

I've also included worked examples of how to use the technique (including a mock Socratic dialogue combining several Socratic arguments, set in the prison cell where Socrates was held after his trial).

All the translations from Plato's Greek are my own (I differ in my translations in several places from other current translations, where I think they have missed aspects of Plato's Greek.)

I'm mentioning this on Textkit as several of my analyses of Socratic arguments are new, based on aspects of the Greek language not noticed in the literature to date. To give just one example, one of the prevailing readings of Socrates' argument in Euthyphro 10b–c is that Socrates is drawing a comparison between acts (denoted by finite verbs) and the states resulting from those acts (denoted by participles). I question this on the basis of the aspect of the verbs (which I do not believe can support this reading), and advance a new reading of the argument based on Greek grammar that takes account of all the examples given by Socrates. Happy to discuss this and my other new suggestions further on the forum if anyone would like to.

The project actually was a side-project coming out another project I was working on—writing an original dialogue in Platonic Greek. I couldn't find a book explaining how to use and adapt Socratic arguments, which I found strange:(arguably) the most famous philosophical skill of (arguably) the most famous philosopher—Socratic refutation—hadn't been turned into a manual (or if it had, it has since been lost), with Aristotle's Topics not quite this.

Here's a link to the personal project on Amazon:
How to challenge ideas like Socrates
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1711519529/re ... 5DbFVY062N

Cheers, Chad

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Re: New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

Post by jeidsath » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:13 am

I'd be interested in how you are reading Euthyphro 10b–c. The critiques of Socrates' argument here have always struck me as a bit misguided. The distinction between agent and thing affected is important, and the root of Einstein's (incorrect!) "spooky action at a distance" critique of quantum mechanics and Feynman's self-critique of his matrix formulation of electromagnetism.

(The EPR experiments are famous and there are web pages and wikipedia articles about them, but the Feynman matrix formulation is considerably more obscure, just a single paper, so I'll mention that the thing that bugged him was that the matrix version of the theory predicted that you can have objects being moved before the thing moving them gets into position.)
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

Post by cb » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:04 am

Hi Joel, just to check, do you see the distinction that Socrates draws here as between the active and passive voices, and/or transitivity? (The examples at 10a suggest that). That's another reading, different to the act versus state reading (which I try to show has no warrant in the Greek verb forms from the perspective of aspect).

Some commentators have taken that tack—that the distinction Socrates is drawing must have something to do with the voice and/or transitivity—but then admit that it breaks down when you get into 10b and 10c, where you go from objects being affected (e.g. carried) to objects being experienced (e.g. loved), and the fact that some of the pairings are both in the passive voice—leading e.g. Geach to say, ‘we just do not know how Plato conceived the difference between the forms I provisionally translate “so-and-so is carried” and “carried is what so-and-so is”’ (1966 p. 378). Anderson also notes that Socrates first gives pairs of active and passive voice verbs; second, passive voice pairs only; third, a combination of middle voice pairs and active forms whose meaning is rendered in the passive, and ‘whose grammar’, Anderson admits, ‘is even more peculiar than that of the initial pairs’ (1969 p. 470).

There are yet other readings in the literature too, which fail to account for all examples that Socrates gives.

I argue in the study that Socrates is drawing a distinction between verb forms: finite versus participle (in a periphrastic predicate). It's not verb aspect, voice, or transitivity that underlies Socrates' distinction, but form—all the mystery over Socrates' pairings disappears under this reading, I find. It is the only explanation that accounts for all examples, and I haven't seen it in the literature so far.

Stepping back, it's a questionable distinction when one form is suggested to explain another (an analogy that I give in the study would be arguing that one is praiseworthy because one is worthy of praise), but is what I believe Socrates is getting at. I also try to explain in the study how this argument links to his argument about the property ὅσιον 'pious').

Cheers, Chad

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Re: New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

Post by jeidsath » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:48 pm

The text under discussion:
Spoiler
Show
10b
Σωκράτης
λέγε δή μοι, πότερον τὸ φερόμενον διότι φέρεται φερόμενόν ἐστιν, ἢ δι᾽ ἄλλο τι;
Εὐθύφρων
οὔκ, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο.
Σωκράτης
καὶ τὸ ἀγόμενον δὴ διότι ἄγεται, καὶ τὸ ὁρώμενον διότι ὁρᾶται;
Εὐθύφρων
πάνυ γε.
Σωκράτης
οὐκ ἄρα διότι ὁρώμενόν γέ ἐστιν, διὰ τοῦτο ὁρᾶται, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐναντίον διότι ὁρᾶται, διὰ τοῦτο ὁρώμενον: οὐδὲ διότι ἀγόμενόν ἐστιν, διὰ τοῦτο ἄγεται, ἀλλὰ διότι ἄγεται, διὰ τοῦτο ἀγόμενον: οὐδὲ διότι φερόμενον φέρεται, ἀλλὰ διότι φέρεται φερόμενον. ἆρα κατάδηλον, ὦ Εὐθύφρων, ὃ βούλομαι λέγειν; 10c βούλομαι δὲ τόδε, ὅτι εἴ τι γίγνεται ἤ τι πάσχει, οὐχ ὅτι γιγνόμενόν ἐστι γίγνεται, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι γίγνεται γιγνόμενόν ἐστιν: οὐδ᾽ ὅτι πάσχον ἐστὶ πάσχει, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι πάσχει πάσχον ἐστίν: ἢ οὐ συγχωρεῖς οὕτω;
Εὐθύφρων
ἔγωγε.
Σωκράτης
οὐκοῦν καὶ τὸ φιλούμενον ἢ γιγνόμενόν τί ἐστιν ἢ πάσχον τι ὑπό του;
Εὐθύφρων
πάνυ γε.
Σωκράτης
καὶ τοῦτο ἄρα οὕτως ἔχει ὥσπερ τὰ πρότερα: οὐχ ὅτι φιλούμενόν ἐστιν φιλεῖται ὑπὸ ὧν φιλεῖται, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι φιλεῖται φιλούμενον;
Εὐθύφρων
ἀνάγκη.
[10d]
Σωκράτης
τί δὴ οὖν λέγομεν περὶ τοῦ ὁσίου, ὦ Εὐθύφρων; ἄλλο τι φιλεῖται ὑπὸ θεῶν πάντων, ὡς ὁ σὸς λόγος;
Εὐθύφρων
ναί.
Σωκράτης
ἆρα διὰ τοῦτο, ὅτι ὅσιόν ἐστιν, ἢ δι᾽ ἄλλο τι;
Εὐθύφρων
οὔκ, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο.
Σωκράτης
διότι ἄρα ὅσιόν ἐστιν φιλεῖται, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὅτι φιλεῖται, διὰ τοῦτο ὅσιόν ἐστιν;
Εὐθύφρων
ἔοικεν.
Σωκράτης
ἀλλὰ μὲν δὴ διότι γε φιλεῖται ὑπὸ θεῶν φιλούμενόν ἐστι καὶ θεοφιλές.
Εὐθύφρων
πῶς γὰρ οὔ;
Σωκράτης
οὐκ ἄρα τὸ θεοφιλὲς ὅσιόν ἐστιν, ὦ Εὐθύφρων, οὐδὲ τὸ ὅσιον θεοφιλές, ὡς σὺ λέγεις, ἀλλ᾽ ἕτερον τοῦτο τούτου.
1) τὸ φερόμενον because of φέρεται is φερόμενον, (not φέρεται because of φερόμενον)
2) τὸ ἀγόμενον because of ἄγεται [is ἀγόμενον]
3) τὸ ὁρώμενον because of ὁρᾶται [is ὁρώμενον]
4) τι γίγνεται because of γίγνεται is γιγνόμενον
5) τι πάσχει because of πάσχει is πάσχον

To make the case that:

6) τὸ θεοφιλὲς because of τὸ φιλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ θεῶν is θεοφιλὲς
but
7) Because something is οἷον φιλεῖσθαι (ὅσιον) it is φιλεῖται ὑπὸ θεῶν

Therefore ὅσιον is the cause and θεοφιλὲς is the result.

So I honestly don't know what camp I'm in, but the argument seems to me to be that: You love a pretty girl because she is so pretty. Because of this she is beloved. And so being beloved and pretty are not the same thing. Prettiness is the cause, loving is the action, and being beloved is the result.

So Socrates is claiming that to say something is ὅσιον is a statement about something's inner characteristics (ie., a girl's prettiness) rather than a statement about outside agencies (whether she is loved or not).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

cb
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Re: New paperback—How to challenge ideas like Socrates

Post by cb » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:54 pm

Hi Joel, thanks for this. You've now zoomed out to the wider argument ("To make the case that...") whose structure is less controversial than the 10b–c passage within it which I'm discussing in this thread (although just to note it's not causal but explanatory: something being pious does not cause the gods to love it, but is the reason for them doing so).

Coming back to the specific passage at 10b–c (in your items 1–5), the question is what distinction Socrates is drawing between the finite verbs and the participles. Another major line of interpretation here in the literature (different to your first reading above in terms of voice/transitivity) is to read in a distinction of aspect, between an act (the finite verb) and the state resulting from it (the participle). I show in my study why I do not think a distinction of aspect can be supported by the verb forms, drawing on Rijksbaron, Duhoux, the new Cambridge grammar etc. on verb aspect.

Cheers, Chad

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