Plato Complete Works

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COMPLETE WORKS,COMPLETE WORKS,Edited with,Introduction and Notes by. JOHN M COOPER,Associate Editor,D S HUTCHINSON,HACKETT PUBLISHING COMPANY. Indianapolis Cambridge,Copyright 1997 by Hackett Publishing Company Inc. All rights reserved,Printed in the United States of America. 14 13 12 11 8 9 10 11,For further information please address.
Hackett Publishing Company Inc,P O Box 44937,Indianapolis Indiana 46244 0937. www hackettpublishing com,Jacket design by Chris Hammill Paul. Text design by Dan Kirklin, Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. Works English 1997,Complete works Plato,edited with introduction and notes by. John M Cooper,associate editor D S Hutchinson,Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0 87220 349 2 cloth alk paper,1 Philosophy Ancient. 2 Socrates,I Cooper John M John Madison,II Hutchinson D S. B358 C3 1997,ISBN 13 978 0 87220 349 5 cloth,Adobe PDF e book ISBN 978 1 60384 670 7. Meno s is one of the leading aristocratic families of Thessaly traditionally. friendly to Athens and Athenian interests Here he is a young man about to. embark on an unscrupulous military and political career leading to an early. death at the hands of the Persian king To his aristocratic virtue Plato s an. cient readers would know what that ultimately came to he adds an admiration. for ideas on the subject he has learned from the rhetorician Gorgias about. whom we learn more in the dialogue named after him What brings him to. Athens we are not told His family s local sponsor is the democratic politician. Anytus one of Socrates accusers at his trial and apparently Anytus is his. host The dialogue begins abruptly without stage setting preliminaries of the. sort we find in the Socratic dialogues and with no context of any kind being. provided for the conversation Meno wants to know Socrates position on the. then much debated question whether virtue can be taught or whether it comes. rather by practice or else is acquired by one s birth and nature or in some. other way Socrates and Meno pursue that question and the preliminary one. of what virtue indeed is straight through to the inconclusive conclusion charac. teristic of Socratic dialogues Anytus joins the conversation briefly He bris. tles when to support his doubts that virtue can be taught Socrates points to. the failure of famous Athenian leaders to pass their own virtue on to their. sons and he issues a veiled threat of the likely consequences to Socrates of such. slanderous attacks, The dialogue is best remembered however for the interlude in which Socra. tes questions Meno s slave about a problem in geometry how to find a square. double in area to any given square Having determined that Meno does not. know what virtue is and recognizing that he himself does not know either Soc. rates has proposed to Meno that they inquire into this together Meno protests. that that is impossible challenging Socrates with the paradox that one logi. cally cannot inquire productively into what one does not already know nor of. course into what one already does Guided by Socrates questions the slave. who has never studied geometry before comes to see for himself to recognize. what the right answer to the geometrical problem must be Socrates argues that. this confirms something he has heard from certain wise priests and priest. esses that the soul is immortal and that at our birth we already possess all. theoretical knowledge he includes here not just mathematical theory but moral. knowledge as well Prodded by Socrates questions the slave was recollecting. this prior knowledge not drawing new conclusions from data being presented. to him for the first time So in moral inquiry as well there is hope that if we. question ourselves rightly recollection can progressively improve our under. standing of moral truth and eventually lead us to full knowledge of it. The examination of the slave assuages Meno s doubt about the possibility of. such inquiry He and Socrates proceed to inquire together what virtue is but. now they follow a new method of hypothesis introduced by Socrates again by. analogy with procedures in geometry Socrates no longer asks Meno for his. views and criticizes those Among other hypotheses that he now works with. he advances and argues for an hypothesis of his own that virtue is knowledge. in which case it must be teachable But he also considers weaknesses in his. own argument leading to the alternative possible hypothesis that virtue is. god granted right opinion and so not teachable In the second half of the dia. logue we thus see a new Socrates with new methods of argument and inquiry. not envisioned in such Socratic dialogues as Euthyphro Laches and. Charmides Meno points forward to Phaedo where the thesis that theoretical. knowledge comes by recollection is discussed again with a clear reference back. to the Meno but now expanded by the addition of Platonic Forms as objects of. recollection and knowledge, MENO Can you tell me Socrates can virtue be taught Or is it not 70.
teachable but the result of practice or is it neither of these but men possess. it by nature or in some other way, SOCRATES Before now Meno Thessalians had a high reputation among. the Greeks and were admired for their horsemanship and their wealth. but now it seems to me they are also admired for their wisdom not least b. the fellow citizens of your friend Aristippus of Larissa The responsibility. for this reputation of yours lies with Gorgias for when he came to your. city he found that the leading Aleuadae your lover Aristippus among. them loved him for his wisdom and so did the other leading Thessalians. In particular he accustomed you to give a bold and grand answer to any. question you may be asked as experts are likely to do Indeed he himself c. was ready to answer any Greek who wished to question him and every. question was answered But here in Athens my dear Meno the opposite. is the case as if there were a dearth of wisdom and wisdom seems to. have departed hence to go to you If then you want to ask one of us that 71. sort of question everyone will laugh and say Good stranger you must. think me happy indeed if you think I know whether virtue can be taught. or how it comes to be I am so far from knowing whether virtue can be. taught or not that I do not even have any knowledge of what virtue itself is. I myself Meno am as poor as my fellow citizens in this matter and I b. blame myself for my complete ignorance about virtue If I do not know. Translated by G M A Grube, what something is how could I know what qualities it possesses Or do. you think that someone who does not know at all who Meno is could. know whether he is good looking or rich or well born or the opposite of. these Do you think that is possible, MENO I do not but Socrates do you really not know what virtue is. c Are we to report this to the folk back home about you. SOCRATES Not only that my friend but also that as I believe I have. never yet met anyone else who did know, MENO How so Did you not meet Gorgias when he was here. SOCRATES I did,MENO Did you then not think that he knew.
SOCRATES I do not altogether remember Meno so that I cannot tell you. now what I thought then Perhaps he does know you know what he used. d to say so you remind me of what he said You tell me yourself if you are. willing for surely you share his views I do, SOCRATES Let us leave Gorgias out of it since he is not here But Meno. by the gods what do you yourself say that virtue is Speak and do not. begrudge us so that I may have spoken a most unfortunate untruth when. I said that I had never met anyone who knew if you and Gorgias are. shown to know, e MENO It is not hard to tell you Socrates First if you want the virtue. of a man it is easy to say that a man s virtue consists of being able to. manage public affairs and in so doing to benefit his friends and harm his. enemies and to be careful that no harm comes to himself if you want the. virtue of a woman it is not difficult to describe she must manage the. home well preserve its possessions and be submissive to her husband. the virtue of a child whether male or female is different again and so is. that of an elderly man if you want that or if you want that of a free man. 72 or a slave And there are very many other virtues so that one is not at a. loss to say what virtue is There is virtue for every action and every age. for every task of ours and every one of us and Socrates the same is true. for wickedness, SOCRATES I seem to be in great luck Meno while I am looking for one. virtue I have found you to have a whole swarm of them But Meno to. b follow up the image of swarms if I were asking you what is the nature. of bees and you said that they are many and of all kinds what would. you answer if I asked you Do you mean that they are many and varied. and different from one another in so far as they are bees Or are they no. different in that regard but in some other respect in their beauty for. example or their size or in some other such way Tell me what would. you answer if thus questioned, MENO I would say that they do not differ from one another in being bees. SOCRATES If I went on to say Tell me what is this very thing Meno. c in which they are all the same and do not differ from one another Would. you be able to tell me,MENO I would, SOCRATES The same is true in the case of the virtues Even if they are.
many and various all of them have one and the same form which makes. them virtues and it is right to look to this when one is asked to make. clear what virtue is Or do you not understand what I mean d. MENO I think I understand but I certainly do not grasp the meaning. of the question as fully as I want to, SOCRATES I am asking whether you think it is only in the case of virtue. that there is one for man another for woman and so on or is the same. true in the case of health and size and strength Do you think that there. is one health for man and another for woman Or if it is health does it have. the same form everywhere whether in man or in anything else whatever e. MENO The health of a man seems to me the same as that of a woman. SOCRATES And so with size and strength If a woman is strong that. strength will be the same and have the same form for by the same I. mean that strength is no different as far as being strength whether in a. man or a woman Or do you think there is a difference. MENO I do not think so, SOCRATES And will there be any difference in the case of virtue as far. as being virtue is concerned whether it be in a child or an old man in a 73. woman or in a man, MENO I think Socrates that somehow this is no longer like those. other cases, SOCRATES How so Did you not say that the virtue of a man consists of. managing the city well and that of a woman of managing the household. SOCRATES Is it possible to manage a city well or a household or anything. else while not managing it moderately and justly Certainly not. SOCRATES Then if they manage justly and moderately they must do so b. with justice and moderation Necessarily, SOCRATES So both the man and the woman if they are to be good need.
the same things justice and moderation So it seems. SOCRATES What about a child and an old man Can they possibly be. good if they are intemperate and unjust Certainly not. SOCRATES But if they are moderate and just Yes, SOCRATES So all human beings are good in the same way for they become c. good by acquiring the same qualities It seems so, SOCRATES And they would not be good in the same way if they did not. have the same virtue They certainly would not be, SOCRATES Since then the virtue of all is the same try to tell me and to. remember what Gorgias and you with him said that that same thing is. MENO What else but to be able to rule over people if you are seeking d. one description to fit them all, SOCRATES That is indeed what I am seeking but Meno is virtue the. same in the case of a child or a slave namely for them to be able to rule. over a master and do you think that he who rules is still a slave I do. not think so at all Socrates, SOCRATES It is not likely my good man Consider this further point you.
say that virtue is to be able to rule Shall we not add to this justly and. not unjustly,MENO I think so Socrates for justice is virtue. e SOCRATES Is it virtue Meno or a virtue What do you mean. SOCRATES As with anything else For example if you wish take round. ness about which I would say that it is a shape but not simply that it is. shape I would not so speak of it because there are other shapes. MENO You are quite right So I too say that not only justice is a virtue. but there are many other virtues, 74 SOCRATES What are they Tell me as I could mention other shapes to. you if you bade me do so so do you mention other virtues. MENO I think courage is a virtue and moderation wisdom and munifi. cence and very many others, SOCRATES We are having the same trouble again Meno though in an. other way we have found many virtues while looking for one but we. cannot find the one which covers all the others, b MENO I cannot yet find Socrates what you are looking for one virtue. for them all as in the other cases, SOCRATES That is likely but I am eager if I can that we should make.
PLATO COMPLETE WORKS Edited with Introduction and Notes by JOHN M COOPER Associate Editor D S HUTCHINSON HACKETT PUBLISHING COMPANY Indianapolis Cambridge

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