Meno, by Plato

Meno bewticthed

Socrates, before I even met you I used to hear that you are always in a state of perplexity and that you bring others to the same state, and now I think you are bewitching and beguiling me, simply putting me under a spell, so that I am quite perplexed. Indeed, it a joke is in order, you seem, in appearance and in every other way, to be like the broad torpedo fish, for it too makes anyone who comes close and touches it feel numb, and you seem to have had that kind of effect on me, for both my mind and my tongue are numb, and I have no answer to give you. Yet I have made many speeches about virtue before large audiences on a thousand occasions, very good speeches as I thought, but now I cannot even say what (virtue) is. I think you are wise not to sail away from Athens to go and stay elsewhere, for I you were to behave like this as a stranger in another city, you would be driven away for practising sorcery.

Meno to Socrates

meno

Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. It attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to confusion or aporia. In response to Meno’s paradox (or the learner’s paradox), however, Socrates introduces positive ideas: the immortality of the soul, the theory of knowledge as recollection (anamnesis), which Socrates demonstrates by posing a mathematical puzzle to one of Meno’s slaves, the method of hypothesis, and, in the final lines, the distinction between knowledge and true belief. During the dialogue between Meno and Socrates, Anytus, who was later to be one of the accuser’s at Socrates trial, appears, and gives a blunt warning about Socrates’ manner of speaking openly and critically of leading Athenians.

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