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Colloquium 1

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Chapter Summary

In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates warns against the dangers of 'misology,' or hatred of argument, claiming that threatens to deprive us of truth and knowledge. In the same passage he tells us that the mark of the philosopher is to care above all for the truth. His remarks invite us to ask why we should care about the truth. The Phaedo proposes that truth can be valued either for its practical utility or because it has a content worthy of engaging us. Neither model recognises truth for its own sake as a goal, despite its apparent status as the philosopher's special interest. How, then, should we value truth? In what ways can a concern for truth motivate enquiry? And what is the relation between the search for truth and the beliefs we are especially committed to? The Phaedo, this chapter argues, both raises and offers a framework for exploring these questions.

Keywords: Phaedo; misology; Plato; Socrates; truth

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