Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being told you are wrong

I reading through Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy? in preparation for an informative speech to be delivered for my communications course in a couple of weeks. Regarding Socrates, it was regularly said that those who engaged with him in dialog quickly found themselves under analysis, and they were called upon to answer for their way of life. Plato writes this in one of the dialogues:

Don't you know that whoever approaches Socrates closely and begins a dialogue with him, even if he begins by talking about something entirely different, nevertheless finds himself forcibly carried around in a circle by this discourse, until he gets to the point of having to give an account of himself -- as much with regard to the way he is living now, as to the way he has lived his past existence. When that point is reached, Socrates doesn't let you leave until he has submitted all that to the test of his control, well and thoroughly . . . It is a pleasure for me to keep company with him. I see no harm in being reminded that I have acted or am acting in a way that is not good. He who does not run away from this will necessarily be more prudent in the rest of his life (Nicias in Plato, Laches 197e6, cited in Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?, p. 28).