Meno Paper - Do All Men Desire Good Things Melissa Harintho...

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Do All Men Desire Good Things? Melissa Harintho PHIL 10100-01 Marian David/ Anna Rafalski
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In this paper, I will examine Socrates’s claim that, “all men desire good things” ( Meno 77c). In order to do so, I must first investigate the instances in which some men desire bad things either because they think bad things are good things, or they think that possessing bad things will benefit them. I will also examine the scenario in which some men desire bad things even though they know that they will be injured by possessing bad things. In the end, I will show that Socrates’s claim is a not “good” argument. The first issue with Socrates’s claim that “all men desire good things,” is that some men desire bad things because they think that bad things are good. In the middle of the Platonian Dialogue, Meno , Socrates asserts that “all men desire good things” ( Meno 77c), a claim that Meno immediately challenges by pointing out that some men desire bad things. Socrates examines this observation, and inquires of Meno whether such men desire bad things because they think bad things are good, or if they desire bad things despite having the knowledge that bad things are bad. Meno claims that both scenarios occur, and Socrates proceeds to scrutinize each possibility in more depth. If, Socrates declares, some men desire bad things because they think that bad things are good, it still suggests that they long for good things. In this argument, intention plays the principle role. By making a clear distinction between what is objectively good and what a man may think is good, Socrates renders the notion that some men desire bad things inconsequential in Meno’s first challenge to his claim. In his criteria of “good things,” Socrates does not limit the definition of “good” to what may truly be good. In this particular case, it is only essential that men desire what they consider “good,” in order to support the claim that all men desire good things. If the individual’s belief that a thing is good is the only requisite for the thing to be considered good, Socrates’ argument and
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reasoning do not allow for glaring objections. Several people desire bad things because they have the misconception that some bad things are good. For example, a man may think it better to tell a white lie than to tell a woman the truth about her tasteless outfit before an interview. Although the man may consider it more beneficial to temporarily
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