εἰρωνεία or ironia : on the nature and function of Socratic irony

Louw, Lunette (2012-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The definition and function of Socratic irony has been much disputed in contemporary scholarship. This thesis identifies some methodological difficulties in interpreting and defining Socratic irony and attempts to narrow the field of interpretation in order to facilitate the formulation of a new definition of the concept. With reference to the primary texts of Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes, as well as some fragments, the different types of irony as employed by Socrates are identified as verbal, in the form of self-deprecation and knowledge disavowal, and physical. A review of late 18th, 19th and 20th century philosophical scholarship on the topic is done in order to gain a better understanding of the perceived functions of Socratic irony. On the basis of this, as well as the opinions of prominent classical scholars, it is argued that the function of Socratic irony in its verbal form is primarily heuristic, while the physical form is a political mode of being designed to criticise 5th-century Athenian politics. Socratic irony is then redefined to allow for these forms and functions, which are shown to be much more complex than previously thought.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar word baie gedebatteer oor die definisie en funksie van die Sokratiese ironie in die onlangse navorsing. Hierdie tesis identifiseer sommige metodologiese probleme in die interpretasie en die definisie van Sokratiese ironie en poog om die veld van interpretasie te beperk ten einde die formulering van 'n nuwe definisie van die begrip te fasiliteer. Met verwysing na die primêre tekste van Plato, Xenophon en Aristophanes, asook 'n paar fragmente, word die verskillende vorme van ironie soos deur Sokrates gebruik, geïdentifiseer as verbaal, in die vorm van self-afkeuring en ontkenning van kennis, en fisies. ʼn Oorsig van die laat 18de-, 19de- en 20ste-eeuse filosofiese navorsing is gegee ten einde 'n beter begrip te verkry van die waargenome funksies van Sokratiese ironie. Op grond hiervan, asook die menings van vooraanstaande klassici, word aangevoer dat die funksie van die Sokratiese ironie in sy verbale vorm hoofsaaklik heuristies is, terwyl die fisiese vorm 'n politieke bestaanswyse is, met die doel om die 5de-eeuse Atheense politiek te kritiseer. Teen hierdie agtergrond word Sokratiese ironie dan herdefinieer om voorsiening te maak vir bogenoemde vorme en funksies wat blyk baie meer kompleks te wees as wat voorheen gemeen is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71854
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