Free «Summary of the Plato’s Meno» Essay
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The Meno is among the earliest dialogues written by Plato. It is believed to be traced back to the year 402 BCE. This dialogue commences with Meno asking Socrates on whether to teach virtue. This question followed with rather fundamental question of defining the meaning of virtue. The questions surrounding virtue occupies a considerable portion of the text. It is imperative to note that fundamental Platonic themes are revealed in this text, which includes the form of the Socratic dialogue. Socrates tries to question and dissect an ethical term by examining an individual who claims to understand the term’s meaning. The text reveals that, Plato concludes that neither he nor the person clearly understands the meaning of the term.
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Similarly, other significant themes raised in this text include anamnesis. This term simply points out that the idea that the soul is external consequently noting is hidden from it. It understands everything and recollection are significant in learning. This element of learning depicts the mainstream aspect in Plato’s reasoning which is wisdom and making wise commentaries. It is notable that, Meno and Socrates do not agree on the definition of Virtue. Meno suggests, and Socrates dismantles it. The dialogue goes on to a point where a query is raised on whether it is probable to look for a new issue or thing. Socrates performs elenchus based on a scale model with Meno’s slave in a bid to solve the problem through the anamnesis theory. At the tail end of the dialogue, it is realizable that, the participants including the Anytus enters toward the end and remain attributable to a minor role altogether. At this point, a classic state of Socratic aporia is evident. This is because the meaning of the term virtue has not been defined. However, the two persons have known that they do not know.
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On the other hand, Plato’s dialogues are significant because of their dept within a considerably clear-cut structure (Plato, Guthrie & Brown, 69). The Meno is a practical example. Initially, the dialogue tends to ensue quite evidently despite a few involute parts, which include geometrical questions to be answered by Meno’s slave. This drives the text to the end without explicitly providing a definition to the term virtue. It is notable that, the simplicity and inconclusiveness hide in extremely ambitious set objectives. It is observable that, the preliminary dialogue is dedicated to the thought that virtue should be defined explicitly before moving to the other subsequent questions. This aspect of dedication on the term virtue is clearly enshrined at the epicenter of the Socratic elenchus. This element seeks to clear the position of received and kneejerk knowledge in favor of quest for truth.
Plato opens the dialogue by asking how and to what extent the term virtue can be educated. Socrates by offered several definitions but hardly did they reflect the true meaning of the virtue due to their aspects associated with the Greek culture. Socrates pursues the dialogue in bid to show what fundamentals are not attributed to virtue (Plato, Guthrie & Brown, 117). It is notable that, what is accomplished in this discourse is not really a theory attributed to virtue but somewhat a theory requisite to the expansion of a better theory about virtue. Attention to the aspect of universally of virtue is the first of such requisite. This dialogue exposes Meno’s most error of naming diverse examples of virtue instead of naming the commonality amid all the examples. This context prompts Socrates to make a point that Virtue is the ability to acquire beautiful things. This revelation tends to indicate or convince to the world that Socrates has always been confident in its knowledge, which knows nothing about the most certain things. The bona fide element of inventiveness is observed in Socrates’ admitting that he does not know the precise connotation of the term virtue, however, he does assert that he understands the fundamental form of virtue.
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On the other hand, this radical undermining of everybody’s most earnest acquaintance about decency is an excruciating and disorienting course for Socrates interlocutors, who frequently stunned by what they seem to know (Plato, Guthrie & Brown, 112). This ambiguity comes a head in the absurdity about seeking what one does not know, was brought by Plato and this forms one of the intolerant deconstructions. This breeds to a question asked by Plato on how can look at the virtue and its aspects without knowing how it looks like. This question prompts Socrates inspiration to introduce an early version of his idea of anamnesis. This thought gives a peek of how erudition is a really a subject of the spirit recollecting that has been learnt prior to its present human birth. This idea tends to be a focal point of Plato’s readers because it is perceived to be a radical departure from Socrates’ reasoning and claims that he knows, knows nothing.
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In the end of the dialogue, Plato tends to make what he perceives to be strong points besides of learning, recalling is a significant aspect of virtue. At the finish of the Meno, a persistent divergence is apparent amid the close that virtue is as “whole or part” consequently creating a thought that virtue is a kind of wisdom that cannot be taught. The Meno leaves us hanging amid defining virtue as instant knowledge or as a kind of inexplicable wisdom exposed to us by gods (Plato, Guthrie & Brown, 116). On the same regard, the Meno indicates that the majority of virtuous men are liable to holding right opinions than factual knowledge. This Meno brings out the fact that exact opinions can lead us to same ends of acquaintance but tricky in staying with us for long by an explanation that they are true. Conclusively, Socrates believes that, we can only rely on semi -celestial motivation to keep us determined on correct opinions somewhat than wrong ones.
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The opinions of scholars on the dialogue
Numerous scholars view the Meno as a transitional work between Plato’s early and middle periods. This is because this dialogue represents a combination of features that are distinctive of the early Socratic dialogues with the early stages of more advanced theories. For instance, one of the most worked out is the Socratic elenchus. Socrates applies questioning technique to draw out an admission of ignorance from the person in argument with. The dialogue ends with aporia. Aporia implies the state of inconclusive puzzlement. On the other hand, the Prototypical Theory of Forms in Socrates’ insistence, which form the epicenter of sharing by all instances of virtue (Klein & Jacob, 39). The theory that knowledge is reminiscence that draws on a craving to see knowledge as beached not in the vagaries of each day life but in some form which would bolster true knowledge as static and perpetual. Scholars indicate that, such positive steps and perspective on true knowledge are missing in Plato’s early works but remain typical of the middle period dialogues which include Phaedo and the Republic.
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It is imperative to note that Plato takes less significant steps beyond the typical reach of a Socratic dialogue. This is evident through his description of Socrates’ questioning of the slave boy. This is because this kind of dialogue includes only a pattern of wiles and refutations. The questioning commences in a manner typical of Socrates elenchus (Klein & Jacob, 39). He asks the slave-boy if he knows the length of the side of a square with twice the area of the square he has drawn and then applies the queries and counterarguments to bring the boy to a point of complying that he does not know. When the boy tries to give an exact answer, Socrates asserts that erudition is fundamentally an act of reminiscence of things we knew prior to birth but then we forgot. Socrates argues that true knowledge is knowledge of the ceaseless and fixed forms that underlie appreciable reality.
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Socrates gives an example of a perception of two sticks being equal in length but unequal in width, this because of the sole reason of existence of the innate understanding of the Form of Equality. Socrates differs with Plato on this context, where he asserts that our grasping of the Form of Equality is due to the recollection of the immortal knowledge which we had and forgotten before birth (Day, Jan & Plato, 93). Socrates sense of perception and analyzing of knowledge sharply differ with Plato’s who Socrates classifies his assertion as that of the early periods. However, Socrates admits that the perception of knowledge in Meno clearly represents Plato’s transition from t early period to the modern period. However, Socrates’ worry what was to be Plato’s perception of Knowledge during the modern periods, which is the stage after middle period.
Similarly, Socrates differs with Simmias and Cebes on the idea of dualism. Plato identifies the self with the soul. Plato suggests that there is no cause of fearing death since, it is only the body that will perish and not our self. Plato’s argument deems to be definitive and consequently refuting Simmias and Cebes doubts (Klein & Jacob, 39). However, Simmias and Cebes see Plato as unrealistic and confident of the uncertainty.
Writer’s opinions of the dialogue
Most writers believe that the sole purpose of Socrates’ enquiry on Plato’s Meno is to help the listeners and readers to discover for them the inadequacy of what they believe as true (Day, Jan & Plato, 67). The writers express their feelings on Socrates’ marshalling the issue with common and traditional ways in which people persuaded themselves to accept what is not true as the truth. Socrates does this by inviting them to discover such inadequacy of these beliefs by subjecting their statements to two point criteria that outline the aspect of definition and common sense of rational analysis. Socrates takes up both revolutionary and secondary approaches in revealing the contents of the Plato’s Meno. For instance, the most writers point out to the justification of Plato’s view and definition of the term virtue (Day, Jan & Plato, 89). It is imperative to note that, the writers have explicitly appreciated Socrates efforts of bringing out the aspects of realism in understanding the definition of the term virtue. Fundamentally, Socrates does not help us reach an understanding of the real idea but inviting us to realize that any aspect of real understanding of the term virtue should be based upon knowledge of the ideal (Scott, 37).
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In conclusion, the Plato’s Meno is a mind opener for scholars, writers and students of philosophy and sociology. It is imperative to note that, the Meno reveals the nature of understanding perceived by human beings on issues. In addition, the Socrates’ argument on the Plato’s Meno has significantly defined the periods in which Plato was creating his perceptions. It is notable that even the scholars attribute to Plato’s Meno as one of the most explicit description of human knowledge as it represents a combination of features that are distinctive of the early Socratic dialogues with the early stages of more advanced theories(Tarrant, 89). More over Plato asserts that, the theory of Form and Equality represents knowledge as reminiscence that draws on a craving to see knowledge as beached not in the vagaries of each day life but in some form, which would bolster true knowledge as static and perpetual.