On Thinking New Times Philosophically

in Theoria
Author: Daniel Herwitz
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This is a paper about what it means to be early. Philosophy has been early from the moment of its inception in the west. Socrates was the first to have been ‘ahead of his time’. Thinking of himself under the sign of a midwife, he believed himself to be stamped with the project of giving birth to a new form of thinking which would in the first instance be critical of existing templates of thought and in the second grasp the essentially experimental character of the search for knowledge. To bring about a sea change in the young, to bring them to the brink of this questioning, experimental moment, to accommodate them to the whirl of a reality whose contours were unknown and whose design undiscovered was for him the task of education. This questioning spirit, meant to challenge the oligarchic and the complacent through a relentless cross-examination or ‘elenchus’, famously accepts that the wisest person is ‘the one who knows that he does not know’ and famously acknowledges the difficulty in achieving genuine knowledge of anything in this kaleidoscopic world.


A Journal of Social and Political Theory


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