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Meno Outline

71 72 73


Menos first answer; not definition, but examples Sorates explains what a definition is Socrates introduces other virtues into the (possible) definition of Virtue Meno gives first def: capacity to govern men Governjustly, right? Virtue vs. a virtue What is shape? Meno demands that Socrates provide a definition for shape Socrates answer: that which always accompanies color Menos objection: what if I dont know the meaning of color? Socrates answer: shape is that in which a solid terminates or the limit of a solid Socrates offers to give his answer in the way of Gorgias Socrates gives the definition using Empedoclean terms Socrates requests the definition of Virtue which Meno promised Menos answer: to rejoice in the fine and have power - Pindar which Meno renders as desiring fine things and being able to acquire them

E 74 75 B B

C 76 A C D 77 A B

(77C 78B)

Proof that nobody (knowingly) desires evil [NEED TO EXPLICATE]


Socrates amends Menos definition Since nobody desires evil, men must be equal in desiring fine things Thus, mens virtue could only differ in their power to acquire good things Socrates has to remind Meno, again, to includ e justly in his definition Thus, it reduces to Virtue is the just (i.e. virtuous) acquisition of good things Menos Paradox: how can one search for that which one does not already know? And, moreover, how would one know even if one happened to come across it? Socrates recounts the Theory of Recollection

D 79 80 A D



Socrates scolds Meno for asking to be taught Socrates says, there is no such thing as teaching, only recollection. Does this not answer the dialogues initial question? Geometrical experiment with Menos slave Explanation of how the experiment refutes Menos Paradox Geometrical experiment with Menos slave, part two

B 84 B-D E-C

(85C 86C)

Epistemological conclusions of the experiment [NEED TO EXPLICATE]



Socrates poses his original question again: what is Virtue? Meno poses his original question again: can Virtue be taught? Socrates agrees to offer a hypothesis, if not a (full/certain/final) answer to the question Provisional investigation: What attribute of the soul must virtue be, if it is to be teachable? In order for something to be taught/remembered, it must be knowledge Thus, the question becomes: is Virtue knowledge or something else? Reformulation: are all good things knowledge or (necessarily) associated with knowledge? If not, Virtue need not necessarily be knowledge Virtue is something good, something advantageous Things spoken of as being advantageous health/strength/wealth - can also sometimes do harm What makes a thing advantageous or harmful? Right use? And the same with spiritual qualities, such as temperance, justice, courage, etc.? Everything guided by wisdom will lead to happiness, and to the opposite when guided by folly If Virtue is an attribute of the spirit, then it must be wisdom All spiritual qualities are made advantageous/harmful by the presence/lack of wisdom And the same is true of the material assets All of the foregoing amounts to saying that Virtue is Wisdom Wisdom is the element which makes a thing advantageous Virtue is advantageous Thus, Virtue must contain Wisdom Does this necessarily make them identical, or can Virtue be Wisdom + something?



E 88 A


E 89 A