Grounding Rhetoric in Dialectic: On collection and division in Plato’s Phaedrus
What is the nature of dialectic in Plato? In this presentation postdoc Kristian Larsen will approach the question by concentrating on the Phaedrus.
It is commonly assumed that this dialogue introduces a new dialectic method – collection and division – characteristic of Plato’s later thought. I will argue, in contrast, that Plato saw the procedures of collection and division as the foundation both for speaking and thinking in general and for Socratic inquiry. I will further argue that these procedures are not identical with dialectic metod as such, but are one method among several the dialectician may employ in philosophical inquiry. They are not meant to provide us with essential definitions of something, but to help us mark off controversial matters correctly from other matters that resemble them.