The Republic Of Plato, The Socratic Thought Process

1131 words - 5 pages

In The Republic of Plato1, Socrates provides us with a profound thought-process for expanding one's mind and knowledge. Its purpose is to seek truth and clarity. His method seems to be as effective in current times as once proposed by Socrates. Often, his starting point is asking inquiring questions that arise from his interlocutor's belief on a given subject. They both enter a maze and as they exit, the interlocutor's position is weakened. Simultaneously, Socrates' investigation increases the interlocutor's knowledge. The Socratic method of questioning, paradoxically, demonstrates that knowledge increases when a belief is weakened. This attempts to erode dogmatic concepts by introducing a specific genuine inquiry, rather than simply accepting the Athenian ruleSocrates was not able to inculcate this thinking into the Athenian mind. Sadly, his philosophic methods were thought to be corrupting the youth. This fear was so grand that he was put to death. He does, however, demonstrate his philosophy of thought very eloquently in The Republic of Plato by applying a thought process which we will see later. This process leads him to question meanings and apply definitions as a foundation for developing proof. He ponders upon the visible and the invisible conditional factors that create reality and truth. There's a genuine interest for clarity by thinking about the underlying implicit order of what is truth. Socrates draws between his own abilities and the abilities of the respective interlocutor. Listen to Socrates in book V, he would like Glaucon to consider what is knowledge:477 aSince knowledge depended on what is and ignorance necessarily on what is not, mustn't we also seek something between ignorance and knowledge that depends on that which is in between, if there is in fact any such thing?Here, Socrates presupposes a distinction between knowledge and belief. He begins to bridge the latter by demonstrating how knowledge is attained and why belief is weakened. We see in book VI how he lays out a thought process that finds the relationship between these two concepts. Socrates and Glaucon, depict a way of thinking in which they attempt to characterize a just ruler. A ruler who can attain highest virtue by means of the soul; summarized it as follows:511 d "You have made a most adequate exposition," I said. "And, along with me, take these four affections arising in the soul in relation to the four segments: intellection in relation to the highest one, and thought in relation to the second; to the third assign trust, and to the last imagination. Arrange them in a proportion, and believe that as the segments to which they correspond participate in truth, so they participate in clarity."According to Allan Bloom's translation of The Republic of Plato, the divided lines look something like this:FormsIntellectionThe mathematical objectsThoughtThingsTrustImagesImaginationThe above diagram is a thought process that is prevalent throughout Socrates' thinking in...

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