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● ** When reading, pay attention to the subtext
● How do we come to be virtuous?
○ Virtue is teachable, like other knowledge
○ Virtue is the result of practice
■ Like an instrument → the more you play, the better you get
■ The more you act virtuous, the more you become virtuous
○ Virtue is possessed by nature
■ Stuck with being a good/bad person
● Socrates: I don’t even know what virtue is
○ So…. what is virtue?
● Meno’s first definition
○ Meno: “A man’s virtue consists of being able to manage public affairs…[a
woman] must manage the home well [etc]”
○ Virtue is not these ^^, it is what they have in common
■ Socrates wants to know why these are good, why these traits are
■ Socrates’ analogy : how do you describe a color? How do you describe
shapes and the difference between red and blue?
■ Is there a difference between giving a definition and giving examples? →
meno’s first definition doesn’t work because examples are not definitions
● Meno’s request
○ Meno: give me a definition for a color without giving examples
○ A definition should explain what all its objects have in common with each other
● Two definitions of shape:
1. Shape is that which alone of existing things always follows color
2. A shape is the limit of a solid
● A good definition uses terms that are already mutually understood
○ Socrates shouldn’t have used the word “color” to define shape because they
haven’t agreed on what a color is.
● Meno’s new definition
○ Meno: “to desire beautiful things and have the power to acquire them”
○ Socrates: no one wants what is bad, the desiring part of this statement is
common to everybody
○ If everyone wants good things, we don’t have to specify that definition
○ A definition should differentiate. It should exclude some objects
○ “Virtue is just the power to secure good things”
■ This is weird because it’s materialistic
■ Virtue is about your disposition, how you act, not what you have