Contribution of Socratic Method and Plato’s Theory of Truth to Plato Scholarship

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In Plato’s early dialogues, Socrates typically draws from his interlocutors definitions of moral terms, then demonstrates that these positions or their consequences are inconsistent with the definitions they have offered. On numerous occasions in the early dialogues, Socrates claims that this method will yield truth. This study argues that Plato entertains a theory of truth according to which consistency is sufficient for truth, rescuing him from the charge of having confused consistency with truth, and solving the puzzle of Socratic ignorance. It also suggests a new theory of Plato’s philosophical development: Middle and Late Plato did not abandon Socratic philosophy; rather, he sought to secure its foundations. The late Plato returns to Socratic method in the penultimate work of the corpus, Philebus.


“ ... the book is a model of clear argumentation and offers a very novel solution to what Vlastos and others have regarded as a serious problem of interpretation.” – Nicholas D. Smith

“Dr. Rod Jenks offers readers a bold, creative, and rigorous response to anticonstructivism ... ingenious and notable on several grounds. It is, to begin, the first book-length treatment of this sort of solution that I am aware of, and thus naturally supersedes all previous attempts of this sort in its thoroughness and detail. The book is also sensitive to Plato’s (possible) literary strategy (ies), is written in a remarkably engaging, clean and effective style, addresses the secondary scholarship well, and provides a useful Bibliography, General Index, Index of Names, and Index Locorum.” – Mark McPherran

“ ... A great deal of material is covered in very little space. This is both a virtue and a vice of the book. Yet, in general, the time spent reading this book is amply rewarded. I recommend it to anyone working on Socratic method or the metaphysical views of the middle and late dialogues.” – The Review of Metaphysics, 2003

Table of Contents

1. The Problem of the Socratic Method
2. The Coherence Theory of Truth
3. The Coherence Theory within the Platonic Corpus
4. Coherence and Anamnesis
5. Socratic Ignorance and the Coherence Theory of Truth
6. The Uniqueness of the World
Conclusion; Notes, Bibliography; Index

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