Concrete Common Qualities

  • Erik Nis Ostenfeld
Part of the Martinus Nijhoff Philosophy Library book series (MNPL, volume 10)


The early dialogues are dominated by attempts to answer versions of the puzzling what-is-X-question. Thus we find the victims of the Socratic dialectic engaged in finding answers to questions like “What is the holy?”, “What is temperance?”, “What is courage?”, “What is love?”, “What is beauty?” But what exactly is Socrates asking for? An answer to this question depends on what kind of entities are the values of “X” in the Socratic question. Our objective in the sequel will be to determine the conditions for counting as a value of “X”. But answering this question depends in turn on what are the intended values of “what” in the Socratic question, and this again involves a clarification of “is”. Hence we seem to come back to the question of what Socrates is asking for. What is the status of the Socratic question? Analytic or synthetic truths? Intensional or extensional equivalences or identities? Is it a logical enterprise only, or is Socrates ontologically committed? If he is, what are his commitments?


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Nis Ostenfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AarhusDenmark

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