Platonic dialectic – inquiring into the nature of things
31st May - 2nd June, 2018
Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Walter Mesch (University of Münster/Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster)
Vasilis Politis (Trinity College Dublin)
Pauliina Remes (Uppsala University)
The last decades of Platonic scholarship bear witness to a radical change in the way Plato’s dialogues are generally read. The developmental approach that dominated scholarship in the 20th century is now questioned by a growing number of scholars, and this has stimulated a renewed interest both in the question how the dialogues are best approached and in the approaches to Plato adopted by older Platonists (i.e. before the 19th century especially). This change, however, has still to prompt a revision of the way Platonic dialectic is approached. The assumption that Plato’s conception of dialectic underwent a significant development, starting from a Socratic ideal of philosophy as dialogue and culminating in a more Aristotelian, scientific ideal, still dominates scholarship on the subject. The aim of the conference is to consider, and potentially question, this assumption in order to stimulate discussions about the nature of Platonic dialectic.
We do not presuppose any specific approach to Plato but invite papers from any approach, provided that they are, in one way or another, addressed to the following questions or at any rate to immediately related questions. We especially encourage early career researchers to submit proposals:
- Is Platonic dialectic best conceived of as a single method, a cluster of mutually complementary procedures, or something else entirely?
- Is dialectic a science or form of knowledge possessed only by the philosopher, or is it connected also with human thought and speech more generally?
- What types of objects is dialectic concerned with, and what is the ontological status of these objects?
- What is the connection – if any – between a Socratic ideal of dialogue, typically set out in dialogues such as the Laches, the Charmides and the Protagoras, and the apparently more scientific or rigorous ideals of philosophic method associated with dialectic and set out in dialogues such as the Republic, the Sophist and the Philebus?
Please send your 300 word abstract to Jens.Larsen@uib.no by 10th December, 2017.