Discussion Of Virtue In Plato's Meno
He does not want Meno to just list examples of different types of virtue, but to give a definition that explains the common ground between all the examples. As well, Socrates wants an outcome that describes virtue in a non-ambiguous way. His definition should intertwine the idea that virtue is wisdom. Since virtue cannot be learned, then knowledge and virtue must be already present within someone through nature. Socrates believes that all the knowledge that we acquire is endowed inside of us since birth. If one has wisdom, Socrates says, “The wise soul directs them right, the foolish soul wrongly? – That is so” (pg. 22). This means that if one is born with knowledge and wisdom already inside of them, then one’s soul should direct them to what is good, to what is virtuous. Therefore, the knowledge of one’s definition of virtue will depend on whether one’s soul is lead by wisdom or ignorance.
Socrates, as well, wanted the outcome of what virtue is to include the idea that those who are internally good and those who have a soul led by wisdom, will have true opinions. Meaning, that those who have correct opinions are still as reliable as those who have knowledge. Socrates explains this idea by saying, “Correct opinion is then neither inferior to knowledge not less useful in direction actions, nor is the man who has it less so than he who has knowledge” (pg.