7 Platos - A Philosophical Introduction to Plato: Meno...

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A Philosophical Introduction to Plato: Meno 3/2/08 Introduction: o Sometimes plato is pulling the reader’s leg (making it funny) o Cannot equate the real-life Socrates and the character Socrates in the book. The Argument of Meno o The Acquisition of Virtue Can virtue (arête) be taught? Meno says it can be taught while Socrates does not know if it can be taught; first he must know what virtue is. What is virtue? The capacity to govern men Excellence or merit (manly virtue) Defining definition For man, virtue is like running a city. For woman, it is like running a house hold. Socrates says: he has given examples of what virtue is but not the definition of it. o Only given virtuous things, not the definition. Meno’s second definition of virtue Virtue is the desire for noble things and the power to acquire them Socrates points out that by noble things, that he means good things. o Nobody desires evil; only the good. Socrates destroys Meno’s definition o Because everybody wishes for good things, then is everybody the same? Is everyone virtuous? Meno’s “perplexity”( aporia ) Falen into the state of Aporia. The term aporia means “no passage through” o Meno’s Dilemma: No New Knowledge Learning and Remembering Nobody would seek to discover that he does not know;
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Wouldn’t know what to look for because you don’t know what it is, or recognize what it is for the matter. o Learning is the process of remembering. The soul knows it all along. The Geometry lesson Socrates traches a slave boy about geometry Knowledge is something that is acquired through the process of reasoning It is distinct from opinions and intuition o Can Virtue be taught? (again…) It is a form of knowledge. It is what guides us towards the direction of good things. o Is virtue knowledge? No teachers of it; nobody teaches it. Not knowledge? Argument reaches a contradictory state. o Socrates’ proof It is possible for someone that has never been to Larissa from Athens could make the same trip, possibly, with only reading about it in a book. (right opinion) Right opinion does not equal knowledge. Right opinion will lead you astray but knowledge will never do so. Knowledge comes from memory, not empirical observation. o Teachers and students; Anytus o Knowledge vs Right opinion Right opinion does not equal knowledge. Right opinion will lead you astray but knowledge will never do so. Plato’s Philosophical Method o Elenchus (means cross examination or testing) Aporia (perplexity) Essential stage for the philosopher’s quest for the truth. o
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7 Platos - A Philosophical Introduction to Plato: Meno...

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