Tuesday, April 30, 2019

On the Absence of Dogmatism in Socrates

Socrates was not a dogmatic thinker. He was tolerant and open-minded. In the Platonic dialogues, he is willing to hear the other side; he listens to objections, gives others a chance to express their ideas, and often points out that it is important go on learning. Here’s an excerpt from Allan Bloom's “Interpretive Essay,” in his book The Republic of Plato (Page 331): "The intellectual voice of the city can become tractable as the city never will. The Republic, a book about a perfect city, is characterized by having perfect interlocutors, that is, men without whom a city could not be founded and who are, at the same time, persuadable, whom argument can convince to adapt to a new kind of world which is contrary to their apparent advantage. Just as one must have almost unbelievable conditions to found the best city in deed, so one must have exceptional interlocutors to found it in speech."

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