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Meno Trans by Benjamin Jowett - Plato

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MENO

by Plato

Translated by Benjamin Jowett

INTRODUCTION.

This Dialogue begins abruptly with a question of Meno, who asks, 'whether
virtue can be taught.'  Socrates replies that he does not as yet know what
virtue is, and has never known anyone who did.  'Then he cannot have met
Gorgias when he was at Athens.'  Yes, Socrates had met him, but he has a
bad memory, and has forgotten what Gorgias said.  Will Meno tell him his
own notion, which is probably not very different from that of Gorgias?  'O
yes--nothing easier:  there is the virtue of a man, of a woman, of an old
man, and of a child; there is a virtue of every age and state of life, all
of which may be easily described.'

Socrates reminds Meno that this is only an enumeration of the virtues and
not a definition of the notion which is common to them all.  In a second
attempt Meno defines virtue to be 'the power of command.'  But to this,
again, exceptions are taken.  For there must be a virtue of those who obey,
as well as of those who command; and the power of command must be justly or
not unjustly exercised.  Meno is very ready to admit that justice is
virtue:  'Would you say virtue or a virtue, for there are other virtues,
such as courage, temperance, and the like; just as round is a figure, and
black and white are colours, and yet there are other figures and other
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