The Paradox of Inquiry

Topics: Virtue, Plato, Philosophy Pages: 2 (623 words) Published: December 15, 2010
Meno's Paradox-The Paradox of Inquiry
Have you ever wondered "how to find yourself?" is "finding yourself" possible? If you're trying to find yourself, you really need to know what you're looking for, or you won't know when you've found it. Back in ancient times, the greeks had philosophers. They would do nothing but sit around and think. Plato is one of the most famous of the greek philosophers. He was a "teacher" to all of the others, and they followed him whole-heartedly. All of his teachings are used today in any and every philosophy and psychology class.

Meno's paradox is one of Plato's many dialogues. It is an attempt to discover the notion of general virtue. (Whether it can be taught, it is learned, acquired, or just is there from birth.) The goal of solving the paradox is finding a common definition that applies to all particular values.

Socrates and Meno both argued about the different types of virtues. Menos suggested that there are different values for men, women, children and so on. While Socrates wanted to find a common quality, that shows the differences in the virtues. Both Socrates and Menos were able to list virtues, but couldn't find a common virtue, until Menos suggested that all men (and women, and children...etc.) have a desire towards "good things." (In the moral sense.)

Socrates argued that no man knowingly desires "evil things." (In the moral sense.) So that the desire for "good" is common in everyone. Menos mentions that good things must be obtained in a good way. (Ex. If wealth is obtained in a just way=hard work) But Socrates again argues that "Virtue must be obtained in a virtuous way," creating a circular argument.

Menos, at the point of giving up tells him, (using an epistemological (a branch of philosophy that asks, "How do we know what we know?") problem) "But Socrates, how do you know what you are looking for, when you don't even know what you are looking for, is? And when you find what you want, how will you...
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