Socrates thus both gives off an air of superiority when he puts his opponents down, asserting that he is leading the argument, and reinforces the possibility of superiority of his opponents, thereby encouraging them to engage in elenchic discussion and further assert their domination of the argument.
We cannot take his avowals of knowledge as indicative of certain knowledge, and thus both he himself and his interlocutor must 'discover' through elenchic enquiry.
In Platonic dialogues like the Sophist and the Parmenides, the excesses of eristics were criticized and were moderated but Plato never abandoned the method of elenchic
dialogue; even in the Laws, it reappears in key passages interspersed among long monologues.
The Platonic Socrates remains almost equally silent; his speech is typically elenchic, showing his interlocutors the unappreciated consequences to which their beliefs commit them, and it is frequently ironic, conveying his true meaning in words that appear to express its opposite.
Just as Plato remains withdrawn in authorial anonymity, Socrates recants his remarks and proposes that his elenchic encomium to political power belongs not to him but to Glaucon, the aspiring politician.
Throughout the book, he places these descriptions in elenchic
dialectic with his and various other theoretical accounts to see which best explain them.
While eristic was thus anathema to Plato, his earlier Socrates employs antilogic in the form of elenchic
discourse (Kerferd 66-7; Murray 281).
(145) Socrates' elenchic
critique of this statement led the exasperated Anytas to leave the discussion angry.
This work is an elenchic
defense of metaphysics by a lover of old books.