A Review of Plato’s Meno
A Review of Plato’s Meno
A Review of Plato’s Meno
Plato presents in his dialogue, titled Meno, the distinction between genuine knowledge and true opinion. In the text, he refers to knowledge as the form and definition of something that is changeless, where as true opinion can be altered and is not restricted in the way knowledge is by having standards of a form. Plato includes the characters of Socrates and Meno, a pupil of Gorgias, to discuss the nature of virtue and knowledge. The dialogue is provoked by Meno posing the question: “How will you look for [virtue], Socrates, when you do not know at all what it is? How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all? If you should meet with it, how ill you know that this is the thing that you did not know?” (Meno 80d). Socrates begins his discussion with Meno by comparing himself to a torpedo fish, which has the ability to �numb’ other creatures. By using the method of elenchus, in which Socrates uses an opponents claim to contradict and confuse them. In this comparison, Socrates uses �to numb’ in terms of �to perplex’, and admits that just as the torpedo fish numbs itself upon impact, Socrates is also left perplexed thereafter. Socrates applies to the concept of knowledge, to the concept of what one knows and does not know, yet according to him there is no unknown knowledge. Meno asks Socrates how is it possible to search for what is unknown if one does not know the unknown, and thus does not know what one is searching for, which Socrates declares as an unsound argument. Socrates then presents each premise of his deductive argument, in order to provide grounds for his conclusion. Notably, Socrates carefully avoids explaining what is unknown to Meno with other unknowns. His definitions are lexical, in that Socrates presents the definitions to eliminate what is ambiguous to Meno.

To begin, Socrates gives the premise that the soul is immortal. Much like the Pythagorean idea of metempsychosis, Socrates suggests that the soul has already gained knowledge from the past lives it has lived. A slave may be unaware of his knowledge, as one would easily forget a dream. However, should the ignorant slave should be questioned, instead of taught, he will recollect on the basis of the knowledge of his soul. Socrates reasons that what one may not know at present, one simply has not yet recollected. Therefore, what many people refer to as learning, searching and discovering are all simply recollection. As Plato suggests: “As the soul is immortal, has been often and has seen all things here and in the underworld, there is nothing which it has not learned; so it is in no way surprising that it can recollect things it knew before, both about virtue and other things. As the whole of nature is akin, and the could has learned everything, nothing prevents a man, after recalling one thing only – -a process men call learning – – discovering everything else for himself, if he is brave and does not tire of the search, for searching and learning are, as a whole, recollection.” (Meno 81c-d)

Meno, beginning as the debater in this argument, responds faintheartedly as predicted by Socrates, for he is humbled by the idea that there is no learning of new information. Socrates uses this definition to prove his next premise, where he requests a subject of a young boy whom he asks the boy his opinion about geometry, instead of teaching him. As proof to Meno, Socrates states facts regarding the geometry to the boy and asks the boy for his agreement or disagreement, either of which shows his innate knowledge, or recollection, of geometry, for Meno knows that the boy has never yet been taught geometry.

Socrates then asks Meno whether or not Meno believes that the opinions of the boy were all his own. Meno replies in agreement with Socrates that indeed the opinions expressed by the boy were entirely his own. Socrates then gives a third definition to affirm his proposition, by stating that the man whom himself believes that he does not know, surely knows, but has not yet had his true opinions stirred up. Meno agrees with the premise that therein the immortal soul of man exists true opinions, relevant both to the awakened and un-awakened knowledge. Socrates restates that one will find knowledge within oneself

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

Characters Of Socrates And Review Of Plato. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/characters-of-socrates-and-review-of-plato-essay/