I read this little excerpt posted in Philosophy News blog. By the way I love the philosophy news blog, there always putting up nifty little tidbits from the various philosophical encyclopedias and just news in general that has anything to do with philosophy. This one is a review or an announcement of a book that someone wrote about Plato, three of his works. Someone has found something in those three works and he wants to tell us about it, which is fine and great from a simple perspective, but I couldn’t help but laugh out loud in reading the first paragraph description of what this guy is doing in the book.
Here is the Excerpt that I actually did laugh out loud when I read it:
This book provides a clear and careful account of Plato’s method of inquiry in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Plato’s methodology. Although I have serious disagreements with many of Hugh H. Benson’s central claims, I think the book has important insights in every chapter. Moreover, its clarity makes it rewarding to engage with, since even if you disagree with Benson, you can track down why and learn from this process. The central idea of the book is that in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic Socrates develops and applies a single method of inquiry, the method of hypothesis, which explains how we can acquire knowledge de novo, that is, how we can inquire without relying on someone else with knowledge. The book is devoted to understanding this method and its applications.
Now; can anyone tell me something odd about this excerpt?
Read it again if it isn’t apparent to you. Think about the topic of the book and what the author is said to be doing. …
Ok, i’ll tell you what is so funny to me.
The author is said to be taking three of Plato’s works in which Socrates is applying supposedly a particular method throughout those three dialogs. The author is going to tell us about this method that Socrates uses particularly evidenced in those three works.
This method he says is ‘de novo’, which means that we can inquire without relying on someone else with knowledge.
Now I’m not into all the logical formalisms an academic structures of knowledge in the traditional classifications of how we might think or how thought is structured or how we might go about particular ways of thinking. I’m a rebel without even saying it; it is hardly my identity, and is actually just a term for really how my mind automatically works.
I think that this paragraph actually evidence is a certain kind of the Nile that goes in to what we typically referred to as authoritative academic discourse. He is saying that there is a method that he is going to describe to you where by a person can ask questions without referring to someone else’s idea of what to question or how to question.
The way I read it and the reason why it is so funny to me It’s because basically, he’s going to offer us some knowledge that we can refer to when going about the activity of coming up with questions or coming up with things to question or how to question without referring to someone else’s knowledge.
Now to me is the perfect example of what I’m calling philosophical redundancy.