Revising the Elenchus via Belief Revision
Em: Logica Universalis
Vlastos’ famous characterization of the Socratic elenchus focuses on two main aspects of this method: its epistemic roots and its dialogical nature. Our aim is to lay the groundwork to formally capture this characterization. To do so, first, we outline an epistemic framework in which the elenchus can be inscribed. More precisely, we focus our analysis on the passage from unconscious ignorance to conscious (or Socratic) ignorance and provide new insights about the epistemic outcome of an elenctic argument. Secondly, from a logical perspective, we consider the elenchus as a dynamic exchange allowing Socrates’ respondents to revise their beliefs, on pain of inconsistency. By stressing this point, we represent this method as a process of belief revision in dynamic epistemic logic and provide a new logical solution to what Vlastos called the problem of the elenchus.