Philosophy of Management

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2001

One of the Greatest Discoveries

Jos Kessels
Pages 49-71

Socrates Comes to Market

Socrates op de markt, Filosofie in bedrijf was first published in the Netherlands in 1997 and reprinted in 1999. It was translated into German and published in Germany in late 2000. The book covers the need today for Socratic dialogue, its methods, its uses and related concepts. These include elenchus (the refutation of what one thought one knew); maieutics (Socratic midwifery making latent knowledge conscious); the relationship of knowledge to feeling, virtue and the formation of personality; and the distinction between three types of knowledge: scientific (episteme), professional (techne) and practical wisdom (phronesis). Our extracts — the first in English - set out Kessels arguments for using Socratic dialogue today, his account of its unique role in organisational learning, and a case history: a dialogue with a top management team in which elenchus plays a signal part as they seek to define a policy for handling redundancies.