DAHLEM POSTDOC Fellowship 2017: 'Hodos and Method in Plato: Between Conceptual History and Spatial Metaphor'
What do we know, and how can we be sure that we know it? Since Plato, the answers to these fundamental questions have involved the concept of method. Plato does not invent this concept from scratch, however: rather, he develops it alongside the notion of traveling a 'hodos' - Ancient Greek for 'road', 'route', 'path', or 'way' - from which the word 'methodos' (Ancient Greek for 'method') derives. Crucially, Plato inherits this notion of traveling a 'hodos' of inquiry from the Presocratic philosopher Parmenides, a major influence on Plato's thought. In my project, I will examine the ways that Plato's development of the concept of method - and with it, our conceptualization of knowledge - exploits, and is shaped by, the language of roads and journeying and the spatial metaphor of travel he takes over from Parmenides.