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The Socratic Tradition

Questioning as Philosophy and as Method

Matti Sintonen, ed.

Man by nature desires to know, and the most natural way of
satisfying this desire is to find answers to the questions that
arise from wonder and perplexity. Questioning is our default view
of method. I was turned into a cornerstone of western thought
in the Socratic elenchus and Aristotle´s doctrine of explanation
and inquiry. Aristotle´s dialogical games, especially as they find
expression in Topics, survived medieval dialectical games and had
a profound impact on practices in academic life. And even when
Aristotelianism came under fire during the renaissance and the
Scientific Revolution, questioning as method was not jettisoned
but rather transformed into a new form in which the questions
were to be addressed to Nature herself.
Questioning is not just a method but also a philosophy in its
own right. Man not only desires to know, but wonder and
perplexity are at the very heart of man´s essence. As Karl-
Otto Apel persuasively argues, Gadamer´s Truth and Method
was not just, or perhaps even mainly, a methodological
insight into how knowledge was to be obtained. Rather, in
philosophical hermeneutics questioning has a more profound
standing, marking, as Apel puts it, “logos-reflection” and
hence dialogue in the full sense.
This collection of essays by leading philosophers probes
questioning as philosophy and as method both from a
historical and a systematic perspective. The authors include
J. Hintikka, P. Aubenque, R. Smith, M.-L. Kakkuri-Knuuttila,
E. Moutsopoulos, T. Calvo Martínez, M. Yrjönsuuri, J.-F.
Courtine, K.-O. Appel, V. A. Lektorsky, G. Schurz, M.
Sintonen, and W. Rabinowicz & L. Bovens

1 March 2010


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