Can Virtue Be Taught? Essay

555 words - 2 pages

lthough today's society includes much technology and new things are supposedly being discovered every day, many age old questions still remain unanswered; questions such as: "Can virtue be taught?" This question is examined in detail throughout Plato's Meno, and although the play leaves the question as to what virtue is unanswered, Socrates attempts an answer to Meno's question. Although he is not particularly keen on answering whether virtue can be taught without first having a complete understanding of what virtue is, he attempts to please Meno by solving this in the way that geometers conduct their investigations, through a hypothesis. Socrates states that if indeed virtue can be taught then one thing will happen, and if it cannot a different thing will happen. In the end of the play, the conclusion is reached that virtue is a gift from the gods. Now the question must be asked: how was this conclusion reached in relationship to Socrates' previous hypothesis?

It is thought by Meno that men cannot be taught anything but knowledge, therefore, virtue must be a kind of knowledge in order to be taught. This corresponds with the hypothesis because the conclusion can be reached that, if virtue is knowledge then it can be taught, but if it is not knowledge then it is impossible to teach. However, this leads to a new question that must be answered before a conclusion can be reached: is virtue knowledge? It is later stated that, if knowledge includes all aspects of reality, virtue would then be knowledge. On the other hand, if virtue is good, and there is anything good...

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