Essay on Socrates 's Definition Of Virtue

762 Words Nov 1st, 2016 4 Pages
Socrates is known for his ability to question others about their definitions of a specific virtue. Throughout his questioning, Socrates takes the definitions given to him and uses logic to show that the definitions do not hold. In one of these instances Meno is questioned by Socrates and fails to produce a satisfactory definition for virtue.
When Socrates defeats Meno’s definition, Meno questions Socrates motive. Socrates claims to be simply inquiring the definition of virtue. Meno takes this opportunity to make a claim that there is no use to inquiring about something because it is either unnecessary or impossible to do so. This has become to be known as Meno’s Paradox.
This paradoxical argument claims that an individual either knows a thing or doesn’t know a thing. If you know already know the thing that you are inquiring about, then it is unnecessary to look for it because you already know it. However, if they do not know what you are looking for then it is impossible to inquire about it because it is impossible to inquire about something that when you don’t know what it is you are inquiring.
Arguing that Socrates can’t possible inquire about virtue or if he can then it is unnecessary to do so may seem as a last line of defense for Meno. This implies that either Socrates either is pretending not to know virtue and is wasting everyone’s time with unnecessarily inquiring about virtue, or he does not know virtue and cannot inquire about and therefore will never know…

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