Meno by Plato translated by Benjamin Jowett Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Written in the Socratic dialectic style, it attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning in this case virtue in general, rather than particular virtues (e.g., justice, temperance, etc.). The goal is a common definition that applies equally to all particular virtues. Socrates moves the discussion past the philosophical confusion, or aporia, created by Meno s paradox with the introduction of new Platonic ideas: the theory of knowledge as recollection, anamnesis, and in the final lines a movement towards Platonic idealism. Plato s Meno is a Socratic dialogue in which the two main speakers, Socrates and Meno, discuss human virtue: whether or not it can be taught, whether it is shared by all human beings, and whether it is one quality or many. As is typical of a Socratic dialogue, there is more than one theme discussed within Meno. One feature of the dialogue is Socrates use of one of Meno s slaves to demonstrate his idea of anamnesis, that certain knowledge is innate and recollected by the soul through proper inquiry. Another often noted feature of the dialogue is the brief appearance of Anytus, a member of a prominent Athenian family who later participated in the prosecution of Socrates. Meno is visiting Athens with a large entourage of slaves attending him. Young, good-looking and well-born, Meno is perhaps a sophist from Thessaly, but Plato is not absolutely clear about this. Meno says early on in the dialogue that he has held forth many times on the subject of virtue, and in front of large audiences.
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