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Meno - Virtue

Uploaded by notrealytrilian on May 13, 2001

"If that area is such that when one has applied it as a rectangle to the given straight line in the circle it is deficient by a figure similar to the very figure which is applied, then I think one alternative results, whereas another results if it is impossible for this to happen."


Although today's society includes much technology and new things are supposedly being discovered every day, many age old questions still remain unanswered; questions such as: "Can virtue be taught?" This question is examined in detail throughout Plato's Meno, and although the play leaves the question as to what virtue is unanswered, Socrates attempts an answer to Meno's question. Although he is not particularly keen on answering whether virtue can be taught without first having a complete understanding of what virtue is, he attempts to please Meno by solving this in the way that geometers conduct their investigations, through a hypothesis. Socrates states that if indeed virtue can be taught then one thing will happen, and if it cannot a different thing will happen. In the end of the play, the conclusion is reached that virtue is a gift from the gods. Now the question must be asked: how was this conclusion reached in relationship to Socrates' previous hypothesis?

It is thought by Meno that men cannot be taught anything but knowledge, therefore, virtue must be a kind of knowledge in order to be taught. This corresponds with the hypothesis because the conclusion can be reached that, if virtue is knowledge then it can be taught, but if it is not knowledge then it is impossible to teach. However, this leads to a new question that must be answered before a conclusion can be reached: is virtue knowledge? It is later stated that, if knowledge includes all aspects of reality, virtue would then be knowledge. On the other hand, if virtue is good, and there is anything good that is not encompassed in knowledge, then virtue could not be knowledge. In order to decide if virtue is knowledge, this example is given: the good are not so by nature, and they therefore must have been taught to be so, and since virtue is something good, there is the possibility that it can also be taught. The problem with this is the fact that the possibility remains that people who are virtuous are so by nature, and if virtue was is...

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Uploaded by:   notrealytrilian

Date:   05/13/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (605 words)

Views:   2124

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