Socrates: The Paradox: Meno And Scorates

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While we have seen that Socrates is good at rejecting incorrect arguments, it is equally important to be able to identify correct ones. The Meno begins with Meno, a friend of Scorates, asking Socrates if virtue can be taught or is it an inborn quality that some posses from birth and others never will. Socrates and his friend then begin to perform an investigation into the nature and form of virtue. When they arrive at the question of how one may know and recognize virtue when it is found, despite not having knowledge of what it is beforehand Meno’s Paradox arises. While both Meno and Scorates agree that virtue is something beneficial within the soul, they struggle to answer how it is one comes to acquire virtue in the first place, whether …show more content…
How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all? If you should meet with it, how will you know this is the thing that you did not know?” (RAGP, 250). From this passage we obtain the the argument of the Paradox; you cannot come to know some that you didn’t already know, and therefore inquiry never produces new knowledge. Socrates response in (RAGP, 250) gives us the premises. 1) The implied premise of the Paradox is that you either know what something is (x) is or you do not know what something (x) is. 2) The second premise follows from this, if you already know what x is, investigating x is unnecessary and inquiry into x is pointless. 3) Thirdly, if you don’t know what x is inquiry is impossible. The reasoning behind this premise is that since you cannot identify x when you see it, and thus would be incapable of investigating it since you would have no source to direct your investigation upon in the first place – and therefore inquiry is impossible. 4) The fourth concluding premise thus is that inquiry is pointless. The rationale behind this premise is that if you know x, inquiry into x is unnecessary and therefore not worth conducting, while if you don’t know x, it is impossible to inquire into it since you cannot identify …show more content…
If these assumptions can be proven false however, we then can see that Socrates Theory of Recollection is not proven in his example and therefore fails to refute the Paradox successfully. The first assumption is that Socrates did no actual teaching. This assumption fails upon scrutiny for three reasons. The first is that Socrates, who already knew the answer, guided the boy to the correct solution and asked leading questions. Specifically, Socrates is the one who brings up the diagonal, leading the boy to the correct solution for his proof (RAGP, 253). He does not know of it’s existence prior to Socrates showing him the diagonal. So, Socrates did actually teach the boy something – about the existence of the diagonal line - and the the slave cannot be said to have arrived at the correct answer entirely on his own. This criticism is further supported by the fact that the slave contributes very little actual data to the reasoning, the vast majority of it is supplied by Socrates in his leading

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