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n. pl. e·len·chi (-kī)
A logical refutation, especially one that disproves a proposition by proving the direct contrary of its conclusion.

[Latin, from Greek elenkhos, refutation, from elenkhein, to bring disgrace to, accuse, cross-examine, refute; probably akin to Hittite linkzi, he swears (as an oath), and Old High German -lingan in antlingan, to answer (ant-, off, away, reversing).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -chi (-kaɪ)
1. (Logic) refutation of an argument by proving the contrary of its conclusion, esp syllogistically
2. (Logic) Socratic elenchus the drawing out of the consequences of a position in order to show them to be contrary to some accepted position
[C17: from Latin, from Greek elenkhos refutation, from elenkhein to put to shame, refute]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ɪˈlɛŋ kəs)

n., pl. -chi (-kī, -kē).
a logical refutation.
[1655–65; < Latin < Greek élenchos refutation]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


a syllogistic argument that refutes a proposition by proving the direct opposite of its conclusion. — elenchic, elenctic, adj.
See also: Logic
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
is the Socratic elenchus. 'Elenchus' in the wider sense means examining a person with regard to a statement he has made, by putting to him questions calling for further statements, in the hope that they will determine the meaning and the truth-value of his first statement.
As the Stranger explains in the Sophist--in a passage, it is true, where he is supposed to define the sophist, but which to my mind presents the very best definition of the Socratic elenchus, hence the Stranger's reluctance to attribute to the sophist the resulting definition (35)--ignorance ([phrase omitted]) is of two kinds.
Woolf's adaptation of Socratic elenchus, far from merely prompting an exchange of ideas, manifests emotion felt in the living body as the source of philosophical questions about a world in the absence of an ideal model or an authoritative interpreter.
"The Socratic Elenchus", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, vol.1, 27-58.
Several papers address the so-called Socratic elenchus. Roughly, this refers to his frequent 'cross-examination' of interlocutors in which their definitions of virtue terms are purportedly refuted.
Mutatis mutandis, if Socrates challenges his companion in the Euthyphro about to hosion, the stake in the dialogue is finally the larger consideration of whether or not the big Other from which Euthyphro's euthus phren hails, with its grounding in Athens' ancestral stories and archeioi theoi, can be rendered fully consistent before the tribunal invoked by the Socratic elenchus.
The keynote talks cover the death of the so-called Socratic Elenchus and studying Plato and Platonism together.
The most familiar form of this process is the Socratic elenchus in which an interlocutor's thesis on an essential question is examined in order to show by a series of questions and answers in what way the thesis contradicts itself and therefore cannot hold as true, and yet also in what way it may serve in an ambiguous and partial manifestation of truth, which then needs to be incorporated into a more "synoptic" understanding.
In the final two chapters of Cross-Examining Socrates, Beversluis attempts to explain why Plato "abandoned the Socratic elenchus" in his transitional and middle dialogues.
Socratic elenchus, for example, does not require any commitment to a foundationalist view of "universal reason": one can start the dialectic anywhere, with anyone, and generate a clearer view of what anything, from Courage to Piety to Justice, really is.
This is reasonable to infer especially given the method of Socratic elenchus Plato employs so consistently in so many of the dialogues.
Benson argues that the Socratic elenchus in the early dialogues is intended to establish only that a position is incompatible with the premises from which it starts, not that it is false; William Charlton finds Quine's definition of Platonism inadequate in relation to the later dialogues; Robert Heinaman claims that Aristotle's distinction between change and activity is not purely (or even primarily) linguistic; David Bostock discusses the relationship between Aristotle's prime matter and the four elements; Martha Nussbaum puts the Stoic view of eros into its cultural context and argues that their insistence on self-sufficiency commits them to a view of eros which is impoverished compared to that of Plato's Socrates; and Christopher Shields reviews Gale Fine's On Ideas.