Analogy and Geometry in Plato: The Hypothetical Method in the Meno, the Phaedo and the Republic

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dc.contributor.advisor Blyth, D en Nathan, Aidan en 2011-12-14T21:45:09Z en 2011 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis offers an interpretation of Plato's hypothetical method as presented in the Meno, the Phaedo and the Republic. Over three chapters I discuss each of these dialogues respectively. The first chapter on the Meno is organised around the notion of using illustrative analogies to lead the student out of ignorance, and to lead the inquirer from his ignorance towards an answer. Yet, I argue that Socrates does not claim to have or to teach a complete knowledge of what something is, but rather he presents an account of what something is like (or what sort of thing it is), often through analogies. In particular, I dwell on the way in which Socrates makes use of an analogy to the geometric method of analysis to get his meaning across. In the second chapter on the Phaedo I present a picture of Platonic inquiry that is rooted in both an awareness of one's ignorance and the firm conviction that knowledge does in fact exist. The themes of these chapters are drawn together in the third chapter on the Republic. Here I argue that the hypothetical method, which relies on an allusion to geometry, is a method for using images that is frequently employed by Plato's Socrates. While others have been baffled by his curious claims in regard to images and dianoia in the images of the line and the cave, I argue that they describe and exemplify one of the most conspicuous features of Plato's dialogues, that is, using (perceptible) allegories and images to “turn the soul” of the inquirer towards the intelligible realm of knowledge and wisdom. I present an interpretation of the hypothetical method that can be used to account for, not only Socrates' approach to his interlocutors, but also Plato's attitude to philosophical literature. Both try to “turn the soul” of their respective students and readers. For Plato (the author) this method is presented in contrast to directly saying what one means, and instead uses analogies that the student must figure out for themself. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99222511814002091 en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
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dc.title Analogy and Geometry in Plato: The Hypothetical Method in the Meno, the Phaedo and the Republic en
dc.type Thesis en Ancient History en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 261040 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2011-12-15 en

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