Socrates 's Definition Of Virtue Essay

763 Words Sep 21st, 2015 4 Pages
In this dialogue, Meno tells Socrates what he believes virtue is, and Socrates rejects Meno’s definitions and indirectly tells him the type of definition he is looking for.
When Socrates asks Meno to give him a definition of virtue, Meno says that “a man virtue is to be able to manage public affairs” and that there are different types of virtues (71e). Meno says that a man virtue is different from a woman’s virtue, which is also different from a child’s virtue and so on. Socrates wants Meno to tell him what is the common characteristic that all virtues share, whereas is a man’s virtue, a woman’s virtue, etc. have in common in order to be considered a virtue. He uses the example of bees to show Meno that although there are many types of bees, they all share a characteristic in which they “do not differ from one another” (72c) and which, makes them different from other species (72b),. Here, Socrates is looking for the universal definition of virtue and not the different types of virtue.
In the second definition, Meno says that virtue is “to be able to rule over people” (73d). Socrates in response asks him, “Is virtue the same in the case of a child or a slave, namely, for them to be able to rule over a master, and do you think that he who rules is still a slave?” (73d). One problem with Meno’s definition is that it does not include all members of a society because a child or a slave is not covered by this definition due to their social status. Another problem is pointed out by…

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