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More information about this seller Contact this seller. Language: English. Brand new Book. Meno Charmides Laches Lysis 'Do please try to tell us what courage is. Charmides, Laches, and Lysis investigate the specific virtues of self-control, courage, and friendship; the later Meno discusses the concept of virtue as a whole, and whether it is something that can be taught.

In the conversations between Socrates and his interlocutors, moral concepts are debated and shown to be more complex than at first appears, until all the participants in the conversations are reduced to bafflement. The artistry as well as the philosophy of these dialogues has always been widely admired. The introduction to this edition explains the course of the four dialogues and examines the importance of Socrates' questions and arguments, and the notes cover major and minor points in more detail.

This is an essential volume for understanding the brilliance of the first Western philosopher. Seller Inventory LIO Book Description Oxford University Press. Seller Inventory NEW Book Description Oxford University Press, Ships with Tracking Number!

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Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. Publisher: Oxford University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title A unique selection of four dialogues in which Plato considers virtue-- individual virtue as well as virtue as a whole-- and its definition.


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Her domain is the management of the household, and she is supposed to obey her husband. He says that children male and female have their own proper virtue, and so do old men—free or slaves.

Socrates rejects the idea that human virtue depends on a person's sex or age. Socrates points out to the slaveholder that "governing well" cannot be a virtue of a slave, because then he would not be a slave. One of the errors that Socrates points out is that Meno lists many particular virtues without defining a common feature inherent to virtues which makes them thus. Socrates remarks that Meno makes many out of one, like somebody who breaks a plate.

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Meno and Other Dialogues - Oxford World's Classics

Meno proposes that virtue is the desire for good things and the power to get them. Socrates points out that this raises a second problem—many people do not recognize evil. Socrates asks Meno to consider whether good things must be acquired virtuously in order to be really good. No satisfactory definition of virtue emerges in the Meno. Socrates' comments, however, show that he considers a successful definition to be unitary, rather than a list of varieties of virtue, that it must contain all and only those terms which are genuine instances of virtue, and must not be circular.

Meno asks Socrates: "And how will you inquire into a thing when you are wholly ignorant of what it is? Even if you happen to bump right into it, how will you know it is the thing you didn't know?

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Socrates responds to this sophistical paradox with a mythos poetic story according to which souls are immortal and have learned everything prior to transmigrating into the human body. Since the soul has had contact with real things prior to birth, we have only to 'recollect' them when alive. Such recollection requires Socratic questioning, which according to Socrates is not teaching.

Socrates demonstrates his method of questioning and recollection by interrogating a slave who is ignorant of geometry. Socrates begins one of the most influential dialogues of Western philosophy regarding the argument for inborn knowledge.

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By drawing geometric figures in the ground Socrates demonstrates that the slave is initially unaware of the length that a side must be in order to double the area of a square with two-foot sides. The slave guesses first that the original side must be doubled in length four feet , and when this proves too much, that it must be three feet.

This is still too much, and the slave is at a loss. Socrates claims that before he got hold of him the slave who has been picked at random from Meno's entourage might have thought he could speak "well and fluently" on the subject of a square double the size of a given square. Socrates then draws a second square figure using the diagonal of the original square.

Plato on Knowledge - The Meno & Theaetetus

Each diagonal cuts each two foot square in half, yielding an area of two square feet. The square composed of four of the eight interior triangular areas is eight square feet, double that of the original area.

Robin Waterfield (ed.), Meno and Other Dialogues: Charmides, Laches, Lysis, Meno - PhilPapers

He gets the slave to agree that this is twice the size of the original square and says that he has "spontaneously recovered" knowledge he knew from a past life [13] without having been taught. Socrates is satisfied that new beliefs were "newly aroused" in the slave. Meno now beseeches Socrates to return to the original question, how virtue is acquired, and in particular, whether or not it is acquired by teaching or through life experience. Socrates proceeds on the hypothesis that virtue is knowledge, and it is quickly agreed that, if this is true, virtue is teachable.

They turn to the question of whether virtue is indeed knowledge. Socrates is hesitant, because, if virtue were knowledge, there should be teachers and learners of it, but there are none. Coincidentally Anytus appears, whom Socrates praises as the son of Anthemion , who earned his fortune with intelligence and hard work. He says that Anthemion had his son well-educated and so Anytus is well-suited to join the investigation.

Socrates suggests that the sophists are teachers of virtue. Anytus is horrified, saying that he neither knows any, nor cares to know any. Socrates then questions why it is that men do not always produce sons of the same virtue as themselves. He alludes to other notable male figures, such as Themistocles , Aristides , Pericles and Thucydides , and casts doubt on whether these men produced sons as capable of virtue as themselves.


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Anytus becomes offended and accuses Socrates of slander , warning him to be careful expressing such opinions. The historical Anytus was one of Socrates' accusers in his trial. Socrates suggests that Anytus does not realize what slander is, and continues his dialogue with Meno as to the definition of virtue. After the discussion with Anytus, Socrates returns to quizzing Meno for his own thoughts on whether the sophists are teachers of virtue and whether virtue can be taught.