Plato's Virtue

Topics: Plato, Platonism, Philosophy Pages: 3 (833 words) Published: May 30, 2006
Plato's approach to virtue is strongly related to SocratesEserious dilemma: how can we ever learn what we do not know? There may be two alternatives for this question's answer: we already know what we are looking for, in which case we don't need to look, or we don't know what we're looking for, in which case we wouldn't recognize it if we found it. As it is impossible to learn anything, Socrates proposed that it is significant to acknowledge that we already know what we need to know. This is Plato's doctrine of recollection, which states that basic knowledge comes when we bring back to mind our acquaintance with eternal realities during a previous existence of the soul.

The further question is: how are we to know virtue, to learn it, and to recognize it? It seems that virtue must be a kind of wisdom, which we usually assume to be one of the acquirable benefits of education. On the other hand, if virtue could be learned, we should be able to identify both those who teach it and those who learn from them, which we cannot easily do in fact. I seems that virtue cannot be easily learned and recognized, but Plato later came to disagree with his teacher on this point, arguing that genuine knowledge of virtue is attainable through application of appropriate educational methods.

Moreover, as Plato stated that virtue is attainable through the application of appropriate educational methods, it is attainable, and I strongly agree to Plato's words that virtue does exist per se in our world. The highest goal in all of education, Plato believed, is knowledge of the Good; that is, not merely an awareness of particular benefits and pleasures, but acquaintance with the Form itself. Just as the sun provides illumination by means of which we are able to perceive everything in the visual world, he argued, so the Form of the Good provides the ultimate standard by means of which we can apprehend the reality of everything that has value. Objects are worthwhile to the extent that...
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