Skip to main content

To What Extent Can Definitions Help our Understanding? What Plato Might Have Said in His Cups

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Abstract

This article argues that philosophical definitions are overrated as sources of understanding or wisdom. Socrates gives a standard argument in their favor which is often still proffered. Still, that Socrates's definitions never succeed invites an ironic reading of that argument. Plato also gives crucial arguments against treating definitions as important to understanding, and those objections have current versions. That raises an issue: What did we think definitions would do for us anyway? That question invites a reassessment of definitions that makes them less central and gives them a more humble, though still dangerous, role to play, one that requires they be integrated with surrounding examples and our own complex educations toward wisdom.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.2012.01767.x

Publication date: 2012-10-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more