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Outline of Meno

  • Date Submitted: 09/20/2010 10:31 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.2 
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Plato’s Meno is a Socrates’ dialogue in which two characters Meno and Socrates speak to each other in an attempt to define virtue. Meno thinks that he can define virtue but as Socrates asks him questions about the real definition of virtue he cannot satisfy Socrates with his answer. He is not able to give a common definition of Virtue but instead uses virtue in its own to define it. Meno thinks that he knows the right definition of virtue as Gorgias taught him but as he debates with Socrates he is perplexed and convinced that he does not have a true definition of virtue.

The very beginning of this Socrates dialogue starts with a question by Meno to Socrates. Meno asks Socrates if virtue can be taught or is it something that results out of practice or is it just that some men possess it by nature? Socrates in return professes ignorance by comparing the wisdom of Thessalians with Athenians. He considers himself to be as ignorant as his fellow citizens saying that he does not even know what virtue is and how could he know the qualities of virtue? He sights a wonderful example that a person who does not know Meno could not possibly say that if he is rich or he is poor. Similarly it is hard to tell if virtue can be taught without knowing hat virtue is at all.   So he asks Meno to define virtue in this section before anything about its qualities is analyzed.
Meno starts by pointing out the virtue of man, which he says it includes the ability to manage public affairs by which he benefits himself and his friends and harms his enemies. Similarly he also says that a woman virtue would be defined as managing household and being submissive to her husband. This is where Socrates does not accept Meno’s definition of virtue. As Socrates was expecting one single definition of virtue he gets fragments of it. Therefore, Socrates uses a metaphor of bees to clarify his question to Meno....


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