Disfiguring Socratic Irony

2016 Philosophy & Rhetoric  
a bstr ac t This article pursues an antihermeneutic conception of Socratic irony that troubles the borders between pedagogical authority and humility. One of the most tenacious ways of troping the teacher-student relation, Socratic irony is often figured as a way for a masterful teacher to exercise authority over a student. Drawing on the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and Avital Ronell, this article repositions such irony as an uncontrollability in language itself-one that can humble and
more » ... n humble and humiliate teacher and student alike. Via divergent readings of Plato's Gorgias and Aristophanes' Clouds, as well as Bruno Latour's interpretation of the former, I question how this approach to Socratic irony might re-and unwork rhetoricians' positions of mastery with regard to both students and systematized bodies of knowledge.
doi:10.5325/philrhet.49.2.0149 fatcat:e6eqks7apbegpaj2ogcrdwxw74