Learning About Something Means Becoming Wiser: The Platonic Dialogue as a Paradigmatic Model for Writing Center Practice




Raign, Kathryn

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As our discipline’s scholars, we must recognize that ours is a history “that is best recognized as an always incomplete narrative” and continue to delve into the past as we seek to inform our future (Lerner 25). In this article, I delve into Plato’s use of “elenchus” or cross-questioning for the purpose of achieving “aporia”—the sense of perplexity or confusion that usually accompanies the discovery that language does not have the ability to mean in any stable sense” within Theaetetus (Raign 90). In addition to extending our narrative history, studying the process of elenchus will allow us to share this methodology with our tutors, so that they can develop the ability not to merely engage in conversation with their students, or lead them to a truth not their own, but engage in the type of inquiry about language and its ability to mean that leads students toward the sort of self-discovery present in the Platonic dialogues.


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