Meno Virtue Essay
Meno, an influential speaker, is traveling through Athens when he encounters Socrates. Meno is a well known individual who has spoken in front of large crowds the meaning of virtue. He is a student who studied under Gorgias, another well know teacher of virtue. Socrates provokes a discussion regarding virtue when he states that, “I have never known of anyone else who did [know virtue], in my judgment.” This prompted Meno to stand up and prove to Socrates he could accurately define virtue. Through their conversation, Socrates challenges Meno and enlightens him to a new way of thinking.
Proving that Meno knows what virtue is he provides Socrates with instances where virtue is portrayed. He says “there are virtues numberless and no lack of definitions of them; for virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do”. Socrates is unhappy with the definition and quickly relates Meno’s “swarm of virtues” to a swarm of bees. He states that all bees differ in shape and size, however do these differences mean that they are not still bees? Meno replies that they would still be bees regardless of their shapes. Socrates then continues to say that there must be at least one quality within all bees that make it a bee by nature and with virtue he must find one characteristic common with all virtues in order to properly define it. In an attempt to find a common characteristic that is true within all virtues Meno suggests that justice is found in all virtues. He confidently answers Socrates “…justice is virtue”. Though a series of questions Socrates explains that justice is “a virtue” and not “virtue”. To further prove his point he states that roundness is “a figure” and it is incorrect to state that roundness is “figure”. Considering that there are other figures in the world, he must as well consider the other virtues. Socrates then provides a very similar example with “color”. So in the end, justice is concluded (by Meno)...
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