Essay about Socrates : Whether Virtue Can Be Taught

941 Words 4 Pages
In the following I will summarize Socrates ' discussion with Meno: whether virtue can be taught. The argument begins as Meno asks Socrates whether virtue can be taught. Socrates answers by reminding Meno that Meno 's own countrymen, the Thessalians, have recently gained a reputation for wisdom, due chiefly to the rising fame of Gorgias. Gorgias, Socrates says, has taught people "To give a bold and grand answer to any question you may be asked, as experts are likely to do." Athenians, on the other hand, do not claim to be able to answer such questions, says Socrates, noting that he himself is certainly among the ignorant. We should note that Socrates ' modesty here is somewhat false, at least in the context of the dialogue that is to follow. Socrates adds to his admission of ignorance the statement that he has not yet met anyone who knows what virtue is. This claim astonishes Meno, who moves quickly, at Socrates ' behest, to give a definition of virtue. Meno says that there are different virtues for men, for women, and for children, slaves, the elderly, and so on. This, of course, is not a definition but a list of different kinds of virtue. Socrates points this error out with a metaphor about Meno 's "Swarm" of virtues being like a swarm of bees. The bees differ in size and shape, but "Do not differ from one and other in being bees." In other words, Socrates is after the definitive characteristics of virtue in general, the "Form" of virtue. In addition to the bees metaphor,…

Related Documents