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Meno.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2200F/G
Professor
Devin Henry
Semester
Fall

Description
Meno - Plato 9/24/2013 7:31:00 AM Early (“Socratic”) Dialogues:  Short  Asks “What is F?” questions, where F is a moral concept  Question-and-answer, cross examination style  Socrates is main examiner; one or two interlocutors  Socratic ignorance (no major knowledge claims)  Aporetic- puzzlement, a state in which you do not know at the end.  The all end with no answer to the problem, no positive outcome.  E.g, Aplogy, Euthyphro, Crito, Charmides, Laches. Middle Period dialogues:  Longer  Explores themes beyond virtue (metaphysics, epistemology, psychology)  Socrates advances positive philosophical theses  Theory of Forms – forms that are eternal related to beings.  Examples: Phaedo, Phaedrus, Republic, Symposium. Late Period:  Also quite long  Socrates typically not main character (if present of all)  Forms no longer play significant role  Very doctrinal  Example: Parmenides, Laws, Timaeus, Critias, Philebus, Theaetetus. Anomalies:  Protagoras, Gorgias: have characteristics of “Socratic” dialogues, but are quite long.  Meno: starts off as “what is F?” inquiry, but has the marks of middle-period dialogues (transitional?)  Timaeus: all evidence points to late composition, but shares doctrines with middle-period  Theaetetus, Philebus: belong to late period, but revive “Socratic” dialogue form. Elenchus: to cross examine, aporetic. Refute the other person, interested in truth. (Socratic method)  If engage in method with him, motivated by right kinds of desires. The desire to find truth. If truth is your goal, you must be willing to be refuted.  Temperance: requires moderation.  Callicles – anti-temperance. Believes that moderation is the weak trying to oppress the strong.  Socratic method cannot find truth. The only thing it can reveal is “Doxastic Coherence” (makes sure beliefs are consistent) Meno: Definition, Knowledge and True Belief (epistemology)  Can virtue be taught? Is it acquired by learning, habit or natural? Or is it a gift from the Gods? Or something that is random/ by chance?  What is virtue? If we don’t know what virtue is, we can’t say what it’s like? If I have no knowledge of something, I can’t ask anything about it.  Virtue: o Virtues are standards of excellence. o Moral virtues: standards of excellence that govern human conduct and social interactions (e.g., justice. Temperance, courage) o A good human is one who lives her life in accordance with virtue. o To be a good person is to have a good sense of humor. The person who has a good sense of humor does not make a joke a funeral. Is this something we learn or are we born with it?  Priority of Definition: i. In order to investigate something F, you need to know what F is. 1. What is it to know F? ii. Knowledge of F involved grasping its essential nature iii. If you grasp the essence of a thing, you should be able to give a definition of it.  Extensional Definitions: defines a concept by listing the class of entities to which that concept applies. (examples) o What is a country? Canada, US, England, etc.  Intensional Definition: defines a concept in terms of certain properties that make something an instance of that concept. o What is a country? A nation w
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