Abstract

This paper explores the role of examples (paradeigmata) as propaedeutic to philosophical inquiry, in light of a methodological digression in Plato’s Statesman. Consistent with scholarship on Aristotle’s view of example, scholars of Plato’s work have privileged the logic of examples over their rhetorical appeal. Following a small but significant trend in recent rhetorical scholarship that emphasizes the affective nature of examples, this article assesses the psychagogic potential of paradeigmata, following the discussion of example in Plato’s Statesman. I argue that by creating an expectation in the learner that he or she will find similarities, the use of examples in philosophical pedagogy engages his or her desire to discern the intelligible principles that ground experiential knowledge. Thus, examples not only serve as practice at the dialectician’s method of abstraction but also cultivate a dialectical ēthos, characterized by the desire to know the logoi of all things.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2079
Print ISSN
0031-8213
Pages
pp. 300-322
Launched on MUSE
2016-08-05
Open Access
No
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