Comparing Plato 's Socratic Dialogues Essay

Comparing Plato 's Socratic Dialogues Essay

Length: 1825 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Mid-Length Research Paper
As evidenced in four of Plato’s early Socratic dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Meno, Plato believes that although people are capable of having right opinions regarding virtue, which are acquired by divine intervention, people are incapable of having right knowledge of virtue. Although Plato often relates virtue to knowledge or wisdom, unlike knowledge virtue is unteachable as evidenced by its lack of teachers or moral experts capable of forming a proper definition of virtue. Despite this, people still aim to be virtuous and thus must rely on opinions to determine what is or is not virtuous. But because people are unable to distinguish virtue for themselves, the opinions people choose to act on come from a higher, non-human authority.
Throughout the early dialogues, Plato draws comparisons between virtue and knowledge. These Socratic dialogues often refer to virtue “as an expertise (science, art, craft)” like any other that requires more than simple knowledge of how to but also an ability to explain or teach. Much of his comparison of knowledge and virtue revolves around the ability, or lack thereof, to teach virtue. If the comparison between knowledge and virtue is accurate, then it would follow that like knowledge, virtue can be taught. This is how the Meno begins. Meno asks Socrates whether virtue is teachable, and the pair spend the remainder of the dialogue determining whether virtue can be taught or if it must be acquired other ways. In order to answer this question, Socrates and Meno first discuss the definition of virtue.
Meno makes several attempts to define virtue, but every definition Meno presents Socrates dismantles because he often finds “many virtues while looking for one…but...

... middle of paper ...

... a sufficient definition of virtue required to be knowledgeable enough to teach it. Despite being unteachable and undefinable, it is possible for humans to be virtuous because they can have true opinions regarding virtue that are just as adequate as true knowledge of virtue with regards to deciding how to act virtuously.

Penner, Terry. “Socrates and The Early Dialogues.” In The Cambridge Companion to Plato, edited by Richard Kraut, 121–129. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Fine, Gail “Inquiry in the Meno.” In The Cambridge Companion to Plato, edited by Richard Kraut, 200-226. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Irwin, Terence. Plato 's Moral Theory: The Early and Middle Dialogues. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1977.
Vasiliou, Iakovos. "Platonic Virtue: An Alternative Approach."Philosophy Compass 9, no. 9 (2014): 605–14.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Comparing The Ionian Awakening And The Enlightenment Essay

- Throughout history there have been many philosophers that have contributed to the way we view the world today. Although each philosopher’s way of thinking was unique, their ideas would usually derive from a previous philosopher. Greek philosophers are especially the most well known by today’s society. Where would we be without the theories of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. Although some of their theories may not be correct, they still made us raise questions about the world we live in and come up with answers that we rely on today....   [tags: Plato, Socrates, Philosophy, Aristotle]

Strong Essays
1805 words (5.2 pages)

Essay about Comparing Plato's Republic and Thomas More's Utopia

- The Relationship between Plato's Republic and Thomas More's Utopia        The trite cliche that no man is an island applies equally well to political philosophies. Thomas More's Utopia was written both as a product of his time, and also as a product of a previous time--that of Greek civilization, especially around 380BC, when Plato's Republic was written. The similarities between the two books are not limited to them both being a dialogue. Both contain a description of the perfect state, although they do this for different reasons and they arrive at different types of perfection....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
2965 words (8.5 pages)

Comparing Plato 's Apology And Phaedo Essay

- Classical Greece is noted for various contributions to modern society. Perhaps one of their biggest contributions is the development of philosophy. Socrates, a well-known Greek philosopher, gave the modern world the Socratic Method, among others. He challenged many Athenian values while reaffirming others. Unfortunately, all that is left of his teachings are those that were written down by his students, most notably by Plato. Through Plato’s Apology and Phaedo, Socrates’s argumentative and dialogue styles reaffirm the Athenian value of participatory culture while refuting the value of relative glorification of the human body in effective and ineffective ways....   [tags: Socrates, Plato, Socratic method, Soul]

Strong Essays
1194 words (3.4 pages)

The Republic Is A Socratic Dialogue Written By Plato Essay

- The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. The aforementioned writing discusses the moral and philosophical implications of injustice using a Socratic form of dialogue, which is typically a series of refutes and dialogues aimed at teaching or gaining knowledge attain a greater degree of truth. The section on art and imitation in the Republic elucidates Plato’s views of art and its implications in an ideal society. Art leads to injustice in society due to its epistemological, moral, and theological ramifications if allowed in an ideal state....   [tags: Religion, Truth, Reason, God]

Strong Essays
1556 words (4.4 pages)

The Educational Value of Plato's Early Socratic Dialogues Essay

- The Educational Value of Plato's Early Socratic Dialogues ABSTRACT: When contemplating the origins of philosophical paideia one is tempted to think of Socrates, perhaps because we feel that Socrates has been a philosophical educator to us all. But it is Plato and his literary genius that we have to thank as his dialogues preserve not just Socratic philosophy, but also the Socratic educational experience. Educators would do well to better understand Plato's pedagogical objectives in the Socratic dialogues so that we may appreciate and utilize them in our own educational endeavors, and so that we may adapt the Socratic experience to new interactive educational technologies....   [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Essays]

Strong Essays
2861 words (8.2 pages)

Questions On The Socratic Fallacy Essay

- Peter Geach’s essay on the Socratic fallacy poses a large problem for the Socratic method of obtaining answers to the What-is-F. question. He claims that Socrates makes an error when he refuses to accept examples as knowledge, primarily citing the Euthyphro as the source. In my last essay, I examined whether or not Socrates commits the Socratic fallacy in two of the early dialogues, namely, the Euthyphro and the Laches. So, I shall begin by giving a brief recapitulation of my previous essay as well as outlining Geach’s Socratic fallacy....   [tags: Plato, Socrates, Socratic method, Platonism]

Strong Essays
1426 words (4.1 pages)

Comparing The Oresteia And The 3 Dialogues By Plato Euthyrpo, Apology And Crito

- hen we look throughout the world and its history one can surmise that in any civilized nation there must be a system of justice in order to prevent chaos and anarchy to rule over the land. However, people and society’s construction of what justice is and what constitutes a just act can differ. The historical writing of Aeschylus in the Oresteia and the 3 dialogues by plato Euthyrpo,apology and crito are two works of literature that clearly exemplify different concepts of justice. When we compare both readings we are allowed to draw on some social and political implications of what justice is and what it should be....   [tags: Plato, Socrates, Crito, KILL]

Strong Essays
1957 words (5.6 pages)

Comparing Islamic Fundamentalism and Plato's Dialogues Essay

- Parallels can be drawn from the Islamic fundamentalism and the discussion of piety, justice, truth, and knowledge in Plato's dialogues. In Plato's dialogues of Socrates' Apology, it becomes clear that Socrates is a pluralist, as is Noman Benotman . A pluralist is someone who believes there is more than one correct solution to a problem but not all possible solutions are correct. This differs from relativism, as relativism is that everyone in a given situation is right and all solutions are correct....   [tags: Philosophy ]

Strong Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

Essay The Apology Of Plato 's Five Dialogues

- Socrates could easily be viewed as suicidal due the portrayal put forth in Plato’s Five Dialogues. First, there is the Apology. Numerous times Socrates was given the opportunity to defend himself in a manner that would be persuading to the jury, but he seemed to have sullied each and every chance. A compelling argument for why his actions were not the crimes he was accused of committing was given, yet he did so with harsh logic and never with an appeal to emotions. He believes such appeals, for instance, bringing his family to court, would be beneath him while acknowledging it would have aided his case with, “you will more readily convict a man who preforms these pitiful dramatics in court…...   [tags: Suicide, Death, Kamikaze, Plato]

Strong Essays
1471 words (4.2 pages)

The Philosophy Of Plato 's Meno Essay

- In our current time the term Virtue is defined as “behavior showing high moral standards”. Knowing that we can pull out a dictionary or google the term is much easier than others had trying to define this word. Looking up the definition is something we can do, but to figure it out to an exact point was a challenge. This challenge took place many years ago in Athens. Plato was a philosopher and mathematician in classical Greece, and was a founder of the Academy of Athens, which promoted learning at a higher level in the western world....   [tags: Virtue, Plato, Question, Socratic method]

Strong Essays
1862 words (5.3 pages)