Date of Thesis Acceptance
Major Department or Program
Against scholars who interpret Socrates’ initial conversation with Lysis as primarily consisting of the refutative elenchus, I propose a new reading of this part of the Lysis in which I argue that Socrates briefly practices a gentle form of elenchus but is able to use maieusis and exhortation in much of the conversation because of Lysis’ notable responsiveness. I then look to Alcibiades’ lines in the Symposium as a challenge. Alcibiades, who had even greater potential in his youth than Lysis, knows he must change his ways whenever he is with Socrates, but as soon as he leaves Socrates, he reverts to his corrupt ways. With little historical information about Lysis and only one appearance in Plato’s dialogues, we face the concern that he too will fail to pursue virtue in the long term, despite apparent success in his conversation with Socrates. To settle this concern, I examine the Alcibiades and argue that Socrates’ pedagogical methods and Alcibiades’ responses reveal important character differences between Lysis and Alcibiades that explain why Socrates could have successfully turned Lysis, but not Alcibiades, toward virtue. In resolving Alcibiades’ challenge, I discuss broader implications for understanding Socrates’ pedagogical methods, especially as they relate to youth.
Plato -- Lysis, Plato -- Symposium --Textual criticism, Education -- Young children, Plato -- Dialogues, Questioning -- Socratic method -- Maieutics, Socrates -- Criticism and interpretation, Alcibiades -- Criticism and interpretation, Virtue -- Early works to 1800, Virtue in literature, Whitman College 2016 -- Dissertation collection -- Philosophy Department
Public Accessible Thesis
If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator
Sheppard, Flora M., "Gentle Elenchus and success : reexamining Socrates' pedagogical methods in Plato's Lysis and Alcibiades" (2016). Honors Theses. 309.
In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).