Essay about Meno 's Paradox Questions On Human Ability

764 Words Apr 25th, 2015 4 Pages
Meno’s Paradox
Meno 's paradox questions the human’s ability to generate knowledge. According to the paradox, humans cannot learn something that they do not know. Socrates attempts to acquire knowledge about whether a given action is virtuous, without having the knowledge of what the definition of virtue is. In the paradox, Meno criticizes Socrates method of gaining knowledge. Socrates gains knowledge by questioning people what he does not know. Meno says that “one cannot discover virtue if they already know what it is, nor can one discover virtue if they don’t know what they’re looking for” (80E). However Socrates provides him with a theory citing an example of a slave boy. The example provides the possibility of human beings to gain knowledge. What Meno wanted to imply is that he himself does not understand the meaning of a virtue. The paradox contains 3 premises. First is distinct knowledge of a subject: either you understand a subject or you don’t understand the subject. Second is if you already know a subject it is impossible discover it, and third is if you don’t know the subject then you can’t discover it since you won’t be able to understand what it is you are looking for. The first premise can be held to be true if one is considering a factual question. In accordance, to answer such a question based on this premise, one either has full knowledge of the answer or no knowledge. This premise can also be held true since it is impossible for one to know and not know in…

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