Preview
Preview

Meno's Paradox Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 2022 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meno's Paradox

It is thought that Meno's paradox is of critical importance both within Plato's thought and within the whole history of ideas. It's major importance is that for the first time on record, the possibility of achieving knowledge from the mind's own resources rather than from experience is articulated, demonstrated and seen as raising important philosophical questions.

Meno's paradox states:

`Why on what lines will you look, Socrates, for a thing of whose nature you know nothing at all? Pray, what sort of a thing, amongst those things that you know will you treat us to as the object of your search? Or even supposing, at the best that you it upon it, how will you know it is the thing you did not know?'

80D

The paradox arises due to a number of assumptions concerning knowledge, inquiry and definition made by both Socrates and Meno. The assumptions of Socrates are:


  1. If we do not know what F is, we do not know anything about F.
  2. If we cannot define F, we do not know what F is.


The assumptions of Meno are:


  1. If we do not know anything about F, we cannot distinguish F from other things we do not know
  2. If we cannot distinguish F from other things we do not know, we cannot inquire about F.
  3. Hence if we do not know what F is we cannot inquire about F.


If we take these assumptions and put them together we find ourselves with the paradox. We start with F, which we want to inquire about. According to Meno, if we want to inquire about F, we need to know what F is. Socrates says though, that in order to know what F is, we must be able to define it, and if we cannot define it, we wil...


... middle of paper ...


...ox could be proved wrong then he has demonstrated his point very well. This would mean accepting the `minimal sense' of the recollection theory - as Vlastos puts is, that demonstrative knowledge is independent of sense-experience, thus establishing that there can be non-empirical knowledge, but not that all knowledge is non-empirical. However, if in his demonstration, Socrates meant to show that Meno's paradox is completely wrong, and that the recollection theory applies to all forms of knowledge i.e. that all knowledge is non-empirical, which is the `full-strength' doctrine, then he was wrong. Thus we must conclude that the recollection theory is an answer to Meno's paradox, but by no means solves it entirely. Irwin writes that `to resolve Meno's paradox Socrates need only suggest that one have an initial belief about the object of inquiry rather than knowledge.'


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Meno´s Paradox Presented by Plato - ... Since Meno understands that he really doesn't actually know what virtue is, because he couldn't sufficiently define it at any point, he concludes that there is no possible or reasonable way for him to obtain it. But, it has to be false to come to the conclusion that learning is impossible since a person can constantly obtain some knowledge of things, making this argument an unsound argument. The one way that Meno's paradox can be rid of this fabrication is to interpret the Principle of Charity to the argument....   [tags: socrates, learning, premise] 851 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
To Accept or Not Accept Socrates’ Theory of Recollection as Sufficient Answer to Meno’s Paradox - ... The problem of circularity in Socrates’ justification is especially problematic because it highlights the weak foundation that his entire theory is built upon. If the basis of ones theory is unsound there is no reason to accept what has been built up from it. If Socrates’ refutation of Meno’s Paradox is that knowledge is simply recollection, it is necessary that he prove the immortality of the soul independently. Since Socrates has failed to do so, then his theory cannot be accepted a sufficient way of overcoming the paradox....   [tags: immortality, slave, interrogation] 1008 words
(2.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Meno - In the Meno, Plato justifies the possibility for one’s mind to uncover knowledge. Knowing one can obtain knowledge motivates the mind to gain more knowledge. Plato explains the theory of recollection by first questioning what virtue is, then demonstrating the process through the questioning of a slave boy. Although a few weaknesses present themselves in Plato’s argument, Plato presents a valid theory on how our minds can obtain knowledge. This paper focuses on exploring Plato’s theory of recollection by examining the strengths and weaknesses of his discussion with Meno....   [tags: essays research papers] 1306 words
(3.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Recollection in Plato's Phaedo and Meno Essay - Recollection in Plato's Phaedo and Meno As the earliest philosopher from whom we have written texts, Plato is often misrepresented as merely reproducing Socratic rhetoric. In Meno, one of the first Platonic dialogues, Plato offers his own unique philosophical theory, infused with his mentor's brilliant sophistry. Amidst discussing whether or not virtue can be taught, Meno poses a difficult paradox: How can one be virtuous, or seek virtue, when one cannot know what it is. "How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all?" (Plato, Meno, 80d)....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
596 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Can Virtue be Taught in Plato's Dialogue - ... In the end, Socrates is left nowhere closer to an answer as Meno realizes that he does not know what virtue is. Unable to provide Socrates with a definition of virtue, Meno offers his paradox: “How will you look for it [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 will you know that this is the thing that you did not know” (Plato 880). Socrates responds by explaining how souls are immortal and have seen all things....   [tags: meno, wisdom, socrates]
:: 1 Works Cited
807 words
(2.3 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Platonic Paradox Essay - To research Plato's paradox in the Meno, we can first consult the definition of what platonism is. Websters defines platonism as "actual things are copies of transcendent ideas and that these ideas are the objects of true knowledge apprehended by reminiscence." For this essay, we will assume that trancendency is- "that which is beyond comprehension", and reminiscence as "past experience". The Meno is a dialogue between Socrates, a scholar and Meno, who eventually became an explorer....   [tags: essays research papers] 1721 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Menos Paradox Essay - What is Meno’s Paradox. First, who is Meno. The Meno is one of the earlier Platonic writings, which include Socrates and which look to try to define an ethic, in this case virtue. Meno himself is seemingly a man who is greedy for wealth, greedy for power, ambitious, and a back-stabber who tries to play everything to his own advantage. Meno starts by questioning Socrates. Can virtue be taught. Socrates says to Meno, well, what makes a virtue a virtue. Meno comes to the borrowed point that virtue is “to find joy in beautiful things and have power”....   [tags: essays research papers] 690 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Platos Meno Essay - The dialogue opens up with Meno asking what virtue is and whether it could be taught. Socrates asks Meno for a general definition of virtue, since as Socrates points out, we cannot figure out if virtue can be taught if we do not have a clear idea what it is. Socrates is looking for a general, or formal definition of virtue, not just examples or instances of it. Socrates wants to know what all the examples of virtue have in common. He wants to know the essence of virtue. Meno initially offers a list of virtues, but Socrates rejects this as a sufficient account....   [tags: essays research papers] 801 words
(2.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Steinbeck's Paradox and Dreams Essay - The structure of the american paradox is complex. The dreams set through decades upon decades of generations have consumed the americans way of living. this paradox and dream is what we have come to not just base our entire lives around but build are morals, standards, and expectations for overall existence. “Paradox and Dream “ isn't like Steinbecks normal pieces of literature. Steinbeck's “Paradox and Dreams” is a sarcastic and criticism filled outlook on the self made paradox created by americans and based on their way of living....   [tags: American Paradox and Dreams]
:: 1 Works Cited
1178 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Meno Essay - There is not a great deal of context that is crucial to understanding the essential themes of the Meno, largely because the dialogue sits nearly at the beginning of western philosophy. Socrates and Plato are working not so much in the context of previous philosophies as in the context of the lack of them. Further, this is very probably one of Plato's earliest surviving dialogues, set in about 402 BCE (by extension, we might presume that it represents Socrates at a relatively early stage in his own thought)....   [tags: essays research papers] 1752 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]