Philosophy in fiction.

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ThomasGR
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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:36 pm

The method that Socrates followed is very similar to the method every court interrogator uses. You know the desired result, and putting careful selected questions or picking up on selected code words, you guide the conversation to the desired result. You know the desired outcome of the interogation from beginning, it does not the conversation leads you to this.

chad
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Post by chad » Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:47 pm

hi thomas, yes that's the aim of the socratic method... but what was the actual method you followed. e.g. the aim of forensic cross-x is to put questions to the witness forcing him/her to answer in a way which e.g. weakens the reliability of the evidence, the credibility of the witness &c. anyone who watches law & order knows that :)

but that doesn't mean that people like me can actually cross-x, because i don't know the technique of how to do this. i remember reading that there are long lists of things which lawyers can use in cross-x, e.g. visual perception is inaccurate in respect of things like distances, little details &c, and so on for other senses; perception is made less reliable by shock, recognition, length of time, involvement (or non-involvement) in the event, &c. if you know all these things you have a method of attacking the evidence or the witness by going through each of these things if relevant.

similarly, i'd like to know what method you used to question socratically, because this is one of my interests, thanks, chad. :)

ThomasGR
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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:02 pm

It's difficult to explain it in few words, but the point is to put a selected question in a way that the other person can only answer you as you have predicted it or you are anticipating. Going on this way, you build your arguments on and on till there are no other ways left than to agree
with your conclusions. These conclusions are not a result but you had always in mind from beginning and all the aim of this conversation was to convince the other. This works well in most cases if the other person collaborates, like Socrates' audiance did. In other cases the other person can become real stubborn. Ny wife for instance smelled very often the outcome, got very angry and refused to collaborate. She accused me of forcing her to agree with me, but asking her how she came to this she couldn't tell.

chad
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Post by chad » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:15 pm

hi thomas, thanks but you're still explaining the aim of the method rather than the method.

e.g., if a witness in court says

i saw x

then the aim
is to put a selected question in a way that the other person can only answer you as you have predicted it or you are anticipating. Going on this way, you build your arguments on and on till there are no other ways left than to agree with your conclusions.
but the method you use to do this is the hard part. e.g. a lawyer might first have a method of attacking:

"i" in "i saw x", attacking the credibility of the witness by asking leading questions about the witness' relationship to y, &c &c. then they might attack:

"saw" by going through characteristic inaccuracies in perception, then they might attack:

"x" by saying that "x" wasn't there at all, &c. &c. that would be the method.

typically in plato, socrates is attacking a statement something like:

A is B.

what socratic method did you use to come up with leading questions to show that A is not B? thanks, chad. :)

ThomasGR
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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:34 pm

Well, this is the socratic method :)
You start making a short statement of the kind "let's assume A is B". Than Criton or someone else will say "I agree." and all the dialogues go this way.
Socrates: "If we assume A is B than C is D." " Yes I agree", says Phaedon, and so on. If someone in the mean time comes and disagrees with something, Socrates will "attack" him (in the most polite way of course since he is the wise Socrates!) and says "But 'we' agreed previously that A is B and C is D." The other person out of shame that perhaps he doesn't remeber what A or B is, and to prevend some embarassment or to hide his lack of attention to all the discussion will simply shut up and agrees once again with whatever Socrates says.

You see, the "assumption" that A is B has now become a firm statement that no one is allowed to doubt! :)
Last edited by ThomasGR on Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chad
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Post by chad » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:46 pm

hi thomas, that's quite funny :) but it doesn't explain how Socrates attacks statements like A is B. people say to socrates A is B, and socrates attacks the statement: he doesn't assume the statement because he wants to destroy it.

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Post by Phylax » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:02 pm

Socrates generally tried to find general truths for things. In his discourses he tests truisms by reductio ad absurdum - i.e., commonly held view points are shown to be ridiculous in some circumstances. But it is worth mentioning that Socrates does not always "win" in the Dialogues, nor is he always logical (but we can maybe forgive him that, since it was not until his pupil Plato's pupil Aristotle's time that the rules of formal logic started to be laid down).
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Post by echomikeromeo » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:27 pm

I quite liked Sophie's World, but I found myself skipping through the slightly tedious philosophical lectures to get to the actual story, which was very interesting and enthralling. However, the lectures are such that it would be a handy book just to have on hand as a reference, because it explains things clearly enough that even a poor dim teenager like me can understand it.

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Post by MyIlium » Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:08 am

Um. Back to the topic, I liked Sophie's World as well. Orson Scott Card also puts a lot of philosophy into his books -- philosophy of the individual and sometimes society, not the natural universe -- too.
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Kladaradatsj
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Post by Kladaradatsj » Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:22 pm

Kasper wrote:A friend of mine loves "Sophie's world", which i believe is a sort of philosophical beginners novel. However, I've never read it, so I can't tell you exactly what it's about. (or who wrote it though I think the author is Norwegian.)
It's by Jostein Gaarder, who has written some other books as well. I've read both 'Sophie's world' and 'Maya'. Maya is in my opinion not what you might be seeking. Sophie's world however is fine. It presents philosophy in a far more interesting way, which is bound to help you remember it more easily. If only my Uni philosophy course would be taught in story-form...
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