Saturday, April 1, 2017

For my paper, I want to examine how Plato uses images as a teaching tool. I think that the Republic and many of the other dialogues can be seen as an outline for how a teacher and student should interact. I think that this interaction includes the teacher learning something, which in Socrates case is the reaffirmation of the idea that he knows nothing. My thesis is that Socrates tries to advance out of the use of images, but realizes the limited depth of his knowledge on these subjects so he repeatedly has to revert back to using images.


  1. Image-use is an interesting foil to myth-making (another of Socrates' methods). Similes and examples are not necessarily fallacious. We see them used by Socrates to support both logical and illogical points (by way of analogy in either case). Myth-making is more slippery, and uses pre-existing biases for story to convince the audience formally rather than logically. Are myths a tool for Socrates or a collapse? Both?

  2. I think they're a potent tool. They only represent a collapse, it seems to me, if we take literally the character's commitment to the most linear and rational picture of learning according to the hierarchy of forms. I suspect we're supposed to take it seriously, but NOT literally...