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Zabrina_Maultsby Final Draft Paper Question

Zabrina_Maultsby Final Draft Paper Question - Zabrina A...

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Zabrina A. Maultsby Philosophy 1301/CRN 10674 9-21-09 In Plato’s Meno, Socrates ponders whether virtue can be taught; in this quest Meno and Socrates will also be compelled to contemplate its definition and overall origin. First Socrates dismantles the preconceived convictions of Meno by rejecting Gorgias definition of virtue as being inadequate and all encompassing. Socrates gives this final argument, “…Then now that the sameness of all virtue has been proven, try and remember what you and Gorgias say that virtue is (Meno 73). After Meno gives a concerted effort, Socrates becomes intentionally patronizing towards Meno’s many failed attempts to answer the question sufficiently. At this point, Meno confesses to being dubious to the question and identifies Socrates as the source of his confusion. Finally, in an almost amusing fashion Socrates invites Meno to join him on the quest to unveil the mystery of virtue, while this invitation is appealing; Meno wants to know how one can go forth in the discovery of virtue if neither knows what it is. Meno asks, “And how will you enquire, Socrates, into that which you do not know? What will you put forth as the subject of enquiry? And if you find what you want, how will you ever know that this is the thing which you did not know? (Meno 80d)”.This introduces Meno’s Paradox which says, if you know what you’re looking for, inquiry is unnecessary. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, inquiry is impossible. Therefore, inquiry is either unnecessary or impossible. Meno believes inquiry is impossible because Socrates has convinced him that he does not know what virtue is and this makes it is impossible for him to find it because if he were to come across it he would not recognize it. But Socrates dismisses Meno paradox as laziness and introduces the theory of anamnesis which suggests that the soul is immortal, being repeatedly incarnated; knowledge is actually in the soul from eternity (86b), but each time the soul is incarnated its knowledge is 1
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Zabrina A. Maultsby Philosophy 1301/CRN 10674 9-21-09 forgotten in the shock of birth. What we think of as learning then is actually the bringing back of what we'd forgotten. Thus, Socrates believes nothing can be taught and sees himself, not as a teacher, but as a midwife, aiding with the birth of recollection.(2) This essay then, will address the basis of his argument which is formatted around an exchange about geometry with a slave boy. The centralized question is whether Socrates did in fact teach the slave boy within the
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