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Philosophical Exercise: Socratic Definition




The following philosophical exercise is designed to exhibit the overall structure, and to prompt the exercise, of Socratic universal definition (eidos) by enumerative induction (epagōgē) (without irony or interlocutor!).

A. Assignment: Socratic definition starts with the question “What is X?” Your question: What is Value?

B. Directions

1.
List ten (10) “objects” (things, relationships, conditions, ideals, goals, etc.) of value. Select objects that are very different in kind or type. Samples: a yacht is a material object of value, health is a physical state of value, friendship is an interpersonal relationship of value, justice is a social condition of value, money is an economic object value, truth is a cognitive condition of value, etc.

1.
_____________________________________________

2. _____________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________

4. _____________________________________________

5. _____________________________________________

6. _____________________________________________

7. _____________________________________________

8. _____________________________________________

9. _____________________________________________

10. ____________________________________________

2.
Extract, abstract, or generalize five (5) types or kinds of value from the list of ten particular objects given in #1. These should be classes or categories that are more general than, and therefore inclusive of, the specific items given in #1.

1.
_____________________________________________

2. _____________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________

4. _____________________________________________

5. _____________________________________________

3.
Try to discern or define the common characteristic, essential trait, or core meaning shared by the types of value listed in #2. This should be formulated at the highest level of generality, the universal concept or essential definition. Accordingly, it should be comprehensive, all-inclusive, generic, and purely formal. All types of value should be covered by this encompassing definition.







 


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