As this question is made under the heading of Socrates, I will answer in accordance with his thoughts. This problem lies in the theory of knowledge and truth by Socrates. We will now see the historical conditions in which Socrates presented his theory. Sophists were an influential scholarly group of his time. They negated the idea that we can learn any knowledge.
They presented an idea that the reality is relative because of its difference felt by everyone. Thus they negated the absolute knowledge, collective ethics etc. Socrates came as an opponent of the Sophists and presented his own idea on the same problem.
According to Socrates the human soul, which he interpreted as the intellectual theme of the personality, has a permanent structure and thus have a capability of getting knowledge. Here he adopts a dogmatic way. Socrates said that there are permanent and fixed definitions of every object. For example if we talk about beauty, there are two methods to explain the beauty. We find many things beautiful like any flower, tree or man. But these all beautiful things have many differences but still they share the attribute of Beauty which makes all of those things beautiful. Here the specific beautiful object is Particular and the common attribute of beauty in all beautiful objects is the Universal definition of Beauty which even remains when the beautiful things expired. This Universal definition is fixed, constant and the real source of knowledge. Sophists mistakenly supposed the particulars as source of Knowledge and based on their differences they thought that there is no absolute knowledge same for all. But according to Socrates the real knowledge is not just the inspection of facts but to distinguish between the particular and universal. Now we have came on the conclusion that what is knowledge near Socrates. Let’s move forward. According to Socrates, our soul has a natural attraction towards knowledge and thus our reason has the capability to discover the real knowledge. Now we will examine the method of reasoning according to Socrates. He conceived that the surest way to attain reliable knowledge is practice of disciplined conversations, a method he called “dialectic”. It is a simple technique. It will begin with the most obvious aspects and concept regarding a problem. One person will present his idea and the other person will trace the imperfection and contradiction in that idea and will present his idea by correcting that faults. And hence by a continuous reasoning process will come to a point where an exact definition will be achieved which would be the Universal and will not include the contradictions because contradictions always arise due to the Particulars. This method can be seen in Dialogues of Socrates. Hence according to Socrates they main purpose of the reasoning process is to achieve the Universal definitions. And if such definitions are achieved then reasoning process has reached on its end. Socrates also held the concept that the universe has an order which can be detected by mind. Thus he presented the idea of purpose which was further reshaped as teleological argument by Plato and Aristotle. Thus for Socrates the reasoning process should help us in recognizing the Purpose of the things. Thus by the end of the reasoning process we actually mean that we have achieved the purpose, the universal.
Category: General Philosophy