The Theory Of Virtue In Plato And Plato's Meno

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By exploring Plato’s work Meno, the theory that virtue can be learned is examined. The position that virtue is synonymous with moral actions as posited by Robert C. Roberts is utilized for comparison. Virtue being singularly defined as being learned through formal instruction does not appear to occur. The concept of what is virtue, is varied throughout both pieces and seems to be based more on the actions and behaviors of an individual rather than instruction.
In the play of Meno by Plato and Socrates approach to the question, Socrates is asked by Meno if “virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice or if neither teaching or practice, then whether it comes to man by nature or in what other way?”.( ) Socrates responds by claiming to not know what virtue is and concludes with the idea that without teachers nor disciples, a subject is incapable of being taught. Socrates states that “there is no teaching only recollection”,(2) and
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Socrates proceeds to suggest that in order to determine if virtue can be taught, they need to ascertain as to the nature of what virtue is. They proceed to inquire if virtue is just a collection of qualities that are inherent or is it knowledge that can be learned through instruction. In the course of this part of their conversation, Socrates states, now, “if there be any sort-of good which is distinct from knowledge, virtue may be that good; but if knowledge embraces all good, then we shall be right in think in that virtue is knowledge?” (3) Having discussed various aspect of virtue and equating them with a good, and good being beneficial, Socrates proceeds to pose questions to Meno about the benefits of these goods and how they are to be used. Socrates expresses that the quality of a man’s soul determines how these goods are put to use, “the wise soul guides them rightly, and the foolish soul wrongly” (4) and dependent on an individual’s

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