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Plato’s Writing Meno

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Plato’s writing, Meno, is structured as a dialogue between Meno and Socrates. Meno asks Socrates whether virtue can be taught and this starts their discussion. Socrates then starts to break down his question and prompts Meno with questions in order to make him brainstorm. Meno tries to come up with definitions, but Socrates always finds away to prove them false. This leads them to believe that it might not even be possible to define virtue. This then makes them think that one cannot find something unless he or she already knows what that thing is. Socrates and Meno conclude their discussion by realizing they do not know what virtue is, but they now know that they do not know.

While trying to determine the definition of a virtue, Socrates comes up with the idea that if virtue can be taught, then there are teachers of virtue. There are many things Socrates and Meno discussed before he came up with this idea. First of all, they decided that virtue is knowledge. They came to this conclusion because they know that knowledge and virtue are both good things. Therefore, virtue must be knowledge. Then, because knowledge can be taught and virtue is knowledge, it must be possible to teach virtue. In order for something to be taught, there must be a teacher. So, it is logical for Socrates and Meno to believe that because virtue can be taught, there are teachers of virtue. But, they realized that although this argument is logical it is not true because they know there are no teachers of virtue. Virtue is so important that if it could be taught there would definitely be teachers. So, due to the fact there are no teachers of virtue, virtue must not be able to be taught.

Although the reasoning Socrates comes up with is logical, there are still reasons one could doubt his idea. Socrates thinks that if virtue can be taught, then there are teachers of virtue. One part of reaching this conclusion was that virtue is good. But, their whole discussion started because they couldn’t define virtue. So how do they know virtue is good? If it turns out virtue is actually bad, Socrates argument is no longer valid. Also, just because something can be taught, does not necessarily mean that there are teachers. To put it in other words, just because someone has the ability to bake a cake, does not mean they are baking a cake. With this logic, Socrates cannot assume that there are teachers of virtue. But although these doubts are valid,

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