Wittgenstein vs. Socrates: Wittgenstein and Plato
Wittgenstein opposes Socrates’ insistence that words should have an essentialist definition. Wittgenstein also stands with Euthyphro in his discussion with Socrates over whether God’s commands make an action good. While Socrates values the examined life, Wittgenstein wonders how we can stop the demand for more explanation. For this Wittgenstein may find more sympathy from Plato. Plato pays attention to the characters in his dialogues – the particulars of their circumstances, and he offers myths that supplement his arguments. In the ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, we can see Wittgenstein wishing to side against Socrates but with Plato – who found ways of making philosophy poetic.
Keywords: Forms • Definition • Socrates • Explanation • Dialogue • Plato • Wittgenstein