The Controversy Of Virtue In Plato's Meno

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In Plato’s Meno, Meno begins with the question, “Can you tell me, Socrates, can virtue be taught? Or is it not teachable but the result of practice, or is it neither of these, but men possess it by nature or in some other way?" (70a). Afterward, Socrates answers the way he usually does by replying with questions back to Meno in order to achieve a conclusion where virtue can be taught. Virtue is moral excellence or "arête", and the innate characteristic of each individual. In the end of the Meno, both Socrates and Meno conclude and agree that virtue cannot be taught at all. On the other side of the spectrum, in Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates and Protagoras debate on the topic of whether virtue can be taught as well. In the end of the dialogue, …show more content…
To begin the Protagoras, a friend and Socrates chat, then Hippocrates comes along. Hippocrates wants to become wise and wants to study under Protagoras, a Sophist. Socrates goes with Hippocrates where Protagoras is. Socrates questions why Hippocrates wants to learn from him but has no real answer, therefore, Socrates questions Protagoras to discover what he knows and teaches to his disciples/pupils. In the dialogue between Socrates and Protagoras, each questions the other on whether virtue can be taught. Protagoras begins by speaking on what he teaches to his students, which is the topic of politics and managing personal affairs. He goes to explain the creation of the world because Socrates questions whether a subject can truly be taught. Afterward, Protagoras concludes that virtue is teachable to any man due to political systems are based on citizens possessing some type of virtue. Towards the end of the dialogue, Protagoras suggests courage, holiness, wisdom, temperance and justice are basically all forms of virtue. Yet, Socrates explains that virtue is another word for knowledge, therefore, virtue must be teachable. Ending the Protagoras, readers are not given a clear statement of whether virtue can be taught, meaning it still needs to be cleared

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