PHIL 130 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Art Theft

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6 Feb 2017

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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
considered virtuous
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
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