A Review of Plato's Meno

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Madeline T


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August 16, 2014








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Plato includes the characters of Socrates and Meno, a pupil of Gorgias, to discuss the nature of virtue and knowledge. The dialogue is provoked by Meno posing the question: “How will you look for [virtue], Socrates, when you do not know at all what it is? How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all? If you should meet with it, how ill you know that this is the thing that you did not know?” (Meno 80d)...
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Socrates begins his discussion with Meno by comparing himself to a torpedo fish, which has the ability to ‘numb’ other creatures. By using the method of elenchus, in which Socrates uses an opponents claim to contradict and confuse them. In this comparison, Socrates uses ‘to numb’ in terms of ‘to perplex’, and admits that just as the torpedo fish numbs itself upon impact, Socrates is also left perplexed thereafter...
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