Knowledge, Knowledge And Virtue In Plato's Meno

There are certain questions in Plato’s Meno that appear to be answerable, yet, Plato chooses to induce aporia and continues to keep the reader in a state of confusion in order to guide them to explore different thoughts concerning the matter of virtue and how it relates to human beings. Plato has shaped Socrates as a character who always encourages self-examination, as well as examination of the human race as a whole, and by creating a state of confusion surrounding a given topic, in this case, virtue, it forces the reader to follow the exploration of the human life. This is Plato’s preferred form of education, this self-examination which forces those who philosophize to come to conclusions on their own, though perhaps through leading questions. …show more content…
Plato, purposefully never fully answers either question in this dialogue between Socrates and Meno but instead pulls the reader into a series of questions, without clear conclusions. Although the focus of the Meno is virtue the way in which Plato approaches the topic (by putting forth new questions which surround the central one) allows for a deeper evaluation of each question. In the dialogue, the words knowledge and wisdom are used almost interchangeably and it is assumed that both knowledge and wisdom must be taught. Yet, knowledge and wisdom have two different meanings. To have knowledge one must know facts and have a wealth of information; wisdom includes the traits of knowledge, but to be wise an individual must also possess good judgment and experience. In the Meno, Plato writes that knowledge is more valuable than a true opinion. In the modern western world knowledge is “the range of one’s information or understanding” which is far more closely aligned with Plato’s definition of a true opinion, which is as follows “true opinions, as long as they remain are a fine thing and all they do is good but they are not willing to remain …show more content…
Yet, if Plato thinks that knowledge can be taught then his definition of knowledge differs, at least somewhat, from wisdom. Like virtue, wisdom cannot be taught, although it is possible to acquire wisdom throughout one’s life, it comes from within an individual rather than an exterior force. One human cannot pass on wisdom in its entirety to another just as one cannot pass on virtue to another. Yet wisdom and virtue can both be explained to a certain degree and those who possess them (wisdom, virtue) do have the ability to guide others, who retain the ability to be virtuous and/or wise, to strengthen the qualities which will most enhance these traits of wisdom and virtue. Why Plato does not explicitly show the difference between knowledge and wisdom is unclear, as both are relevant to virtue, for one can be virtuous without certain knowledge but it seems it would be necessary have wisdom. However Plato does understand the importance of these characters as he explains to Meno in the following way: “Consider whichever [quality of the soul]...you believe not to be knowledge but different from it; do they not at times harm us, at other times benefit us? Courage for example, when it is not wisdom but like a kind of

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