PDC Homepage

Home » Products » Purchase

Idealistic Studies

Volume 45, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Gregory Kirk
Pages 103-123

Initiation, Extraction, and Transformation
What It Takes to Answer Socrates's Question

In this paper, I provide an account of what is frequently called Socrates’s “method,” and, more specifically, of what one is being asked by Socrates when he asks “what is x?” I argue that one is being asked to change one’s life, and to orient one’s life around the pursuit of wisdom. To answer Socrates’s question is to subject oneself to a process of extracting from oneself one’s accumulated prejudices; doing so requires one to abandon, not just ideas that have been demonstrated to be false, but the aspects of one’s life that have been built around those previous un-reflected upon ideas. This means that the cumulative commitments of adulthood—predicated as many of them often are on un-reflected upon presumptions—prevent initiation into philosophical life. The call to do philosophy is, for Socrates, the call to subject oneself to perpetual transformation, limiting who is capable of its pursuit.

Usage and Metrics
Dimensions
PDC