Essay on Socratic Method: a Superior Approach

795 Words Oct 27th, 2008 4 Pages
In The Meno, Plato presents a dialogue that aims to figure out what virtue is. Each character contributes to the conversation by presenting their different theories on dealing with ideas like virtue. Even though Socrates and his interlocutors fail to come up with an exact definition concerning virtue, they successfully portray three different points of view on the subject. This enables the reader to become the philosopher and ponder which theory is more effective. After analyzing Meno’s theory of examining virtue by discussing its qualities and Anytus’ refusal to discuss ideas like virtue, it is clear that the most efficient method is Socrates’ theory of recollection. Socrates’ theory of recollection, also known as the Socratic Method, …show more content…
What makes this method ineffective is that it attempts to discuss the qualities of virtue without knowing what virtue actually is. Meno himself points this out. When Socrates and Meno have reached a point were they both don’t know anything, also known as aporeia, Meno asks “and how will you enquire, Socrates, into that which you do not know? What will you put forth as the subject of enquiry?” (Plato 39). It is impossible to point out the characteristics of a subject without knowing what the subject is or what it means. The Socratic Method emphasizes that the knowledge already exists within the soul. Recollecting knowledge is possible, discussing qualities of an unknown subject isn’t. Confirming that the Socratic Method is a better way to figure out what virtue is. Anytus enters the dialogue towards the end and brings a new perspective to the table. His perspective differs from Socrates’ and Meno’s because he doesn’t want to take part in discussing the meaning of virtue. Anytus is against this type of discussions and advices Meno and Socrates to stop engaging in conversations of such manner because it is dangerous to talk about ideas in a democracy. Opposite to Socrates and Meno, Anytus doesn’t offer a method to learn more about virtue. Anytus is conscious about the negative consequences that can come out of discussing abstract ideas. His fear toward

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