BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO MENO
Plato’s Meno is a Socrates’ dialogue in which two characters Meno and Socrates speak to each other in an attempt to define virtue. Meno thinks that he can define virtue but as Socrates asks him questions about the real definition of virtue he cannot satisfy Socrates with his answer. He is not able to give a common definition of Virtue but instead uses virtue in its own to define it. Meno thinks that he knows the right definition of virtue as Gorgias taught him but as he debates with Socrates he is perplexed and convinced that he does not have a true definition of virtue.
PAGES 3-8(70-d)MENO’S QUESTIONS ON VIRTUE AND SOCRATES’ RESPONSE
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Therefore, Socrates uses a metaphor of bees to clarify his question to Meno. Although bees are in a swarm and each bee is different from one another they still do not differ in being bees in one another. Similarly, it is not right to seek these many virtues if one is asking what virtue is. Meno does not grasp what Socrates is trying to say and again Socrates uses definition of shape and color to justify what he is trying to ask. As roundness is a shape but not shape and as white is a color but not color, similarly virtue is what needed to be defined here rather than different virtues.
Furthermore, Meno does not understand what Socrates is saying because he seeks for a sophisticated definition whereas Socrates is always inclined to a simple definition. For example when Socrates define shape as existing things that always follows color Meno argues that it would not work for people who don’t know what color is. However when Socrates gives him a definition similar to as Gorgias’ definition by saying that shape is what limits a solid then he seems to be satisfied. Socrates again asks Meno to stop making many virtues out of one and give one definition. This time Meno gives a poetic definition and yet he fails to convince Socrates and give a single definition of virtue. This is when he says that virtue is the power of securing beautiful things in life with justice and moderation is virtue but then he says this is a part of virtue and it is again broken into fragments in this definition.
MENO’S IMPRESSION OF SOCRATES
In this section of the meno, Meno is convinced that he cannot define virtue. He agrees with the argument of Socrates and accepts that what he thought about virtue was not true at all. He feels that he does not know about virtue. After this Meno has developed an image about Socrates and he feels that what he heard about Socrates being in a state of perplexity was very true. He tells Socrates that he is just like torpedo fish as it makes anyone who comes near it go numb. He uses this metaphor so as to convey that he has been totally perplexed by Socrates. He cannot believe himself because he used to make great speeches about virtue in front of large audiences and now he is not even sure what virtue is.
Socrates takes this comment as an attempt of Meno to make Socrates an image of him in return but he does not comment back. Instead he says that as he is numb himself being a torpedo fish, which...