Distinguishing Whether Virtue Is Knowledge

Plato reveals Socrates' views on the question whether virtue is knowledge and whether it could be taught in a number of dialogues, especially in Meno. In such a dialogue, Socrates makes a number of arguments on the subject of virtue. These arguments include how virtue is identified and whether or not people can acquire it. He examines the ways that virtue can be gained; if one is born being virtuous, whether virtue can be trained or it is another factor for virtues folks have. In this article I will concentrate on the question of whether virtue can be trained. Plato's answer is the fact virtue can't be taught. In this article I recommend that Plato can have framed the questions somewhat differently, which could have probably given him a new answer. Specifically I will dispute that Plato might have done better to ask whether virtue could be learned instead of asking whether virtue can be trained.

The Meno commences with Meno asking Socrates whether virtue can be taught. The discussion then is drifted then to some other question, what is knowledge. Then Meno suggested a fascinating paradox: you can never find out anything new: each one has learned it already, in which case there is no need to think it is out, or else one will not, and in that case there is no means of recognizing it when found (Plato 1997, 80d-e. ). Quite simply if one will not already know very well what arЄte (virtue) is, he can't even search for it, because if he will not know very well what it is already, then even h he searches, he will not be in a position to know when you have found it. Socrates advises ways to solve this problem which is based on the Pythagorean view of the immortal heart. According compared to that notion, the heart, following the physical body dies, is reincarnated and thus never damaged. If one can never acquire any new knowledge and at the same time it is obvious we could always learning new things, then it is be concluded that learning must be a matter of recollection of previous life encounters and knowledge. Quite simply there is absolutely no such thing as teaching, but only remembering.

In the Meno he exhibited with a slave son who obviously didn't have any understanding of geometry. By asking the young young man questions he were able to show that the boy had knowledge of certain numerical theorems.

Meno asks again his original question, that is whether you can be trained virtue, or one gets virtue by nature or in a few other way. Socrates consents to move forward but argues that they need a common ground due to the fact that neither of these can say at this point what virtue is. Then Meno is made agree that if virtue is not knowledge then it can't be taught, and when an understanding then it could be taught. He points out that one may teach something only if one knows what it is that he is teaching. A person who will not know himself how to operate a vehicle a car seems unlikely to have the ability to teach someone else how to. Socrates and Meno much agree that there is no person that truly knows what is designed by "virtue" and due to this reason cannot be taught.

According to Socrates, If virtue could be trained, we should be able to know not only those who coach it but also those who learn from them, which in reality we cannot easily do (Plato 1997, HYPERLINK "http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=plat. +meno+96c" 96c). Socrates claims that educators for horsemanship, medicine, etc. exist and everybody identifies these as genuine educators, whereas people don't agree with the fact about if the Sophists do educate virtue. Socrates moves one to talk about Thucydides, who possessed two sons, neither which was regarded as virtuous. However, it is said that Thucydides educated his children in many different disciplines, but it appears that he could not find a professor of virtue even though he found teachers for other areas of life he found valuable. He could not show it himself either, even though he himself was known to be virtuous. So that it seems virtue cannot be a kind of knowledge. For something to be knowledge, someone must have the ability to instruct it to others. Socrates concludes that virtue cannot be taught and that there is no means or method by which virtue can be acquired. Virtue is merely "shown as coming to us, whenever it comes, by divine dispensation" (reference point?)

In my view, if Plato experienced framed the questions relatively differently, he might have gotten another type of answer. That is Plato could have better asked whether virtue could be learned instead of requesting whether virtue can be trained. What I mean to say is that asking whether you can be trained something requires that the relationship of a student and a professor, whereas asking whether something can be discovered implies only that there surely is a student (whose life experience might be said to be a "teacher. ") For instance, to ask whether I had been educated geometry is to ask whether a tutor educated me geometry. Whereas to ask whether I discovered geometry is merely to ask whether I learned it, if I was trained it with a geometry instructor or discovered geometry myself either from (let's say) a book or by some other means.

Learning can come in various forms. In order to discover something, one will not require a instructor in the strict sense. For example, learning can be achieved from studying individuals who have virtue and yet the latter might not exactly remember that they are studied. So a man may be learning virtue, and his "teachers" may be virtuous, even although teachers might not even be alive. Another form of learning is experience. Virtue may be discovered through personal experience. Within this example, the "teacher" would be both life experiences and the reflective mother nature of the learner. There continues to be another form of learning. A guy can learn, even if he cannot offer a conclusion of how he learned or of what he exactly understands. For instance, after someone has been through a specific problem in his life, he may then detect a comparative of his is certainly going through the same problem. And although they can know it, he cannot give a conclusion of how he regarded it. Another example is that of the musicians or painters who have learned their craft and have the ability to succeed, but think it is almost impossible to give a conclusion of what they have discovered.

So the question whether virtue can be educated is a much different, and narrower, than whether virtue can be discovered. Plato is right in suggesting that virtue cannot be taught. I believe everybody knows or have listened to of individuals who recite "rules" of virtue (such us 'be compassionate' or be 'genuine', ) but think it is impossible to put them into practice. Certainly in this sense virtue cannot be taught. A mentioned above, to be able to be virtuous is like to be able to be musical, which is somewhat instinctual. So, for example, maybe it's argued that knowing when, for example, to offer help to a friend when he needs it, is a matter of instinct or view.

All of this means that although virtue may not be taught, this is not to state that virtue can not be learned. Plato implies the idea that virtue is inborn. Certainly this is to some degree true. You can find a lot of people with an exceptional convenience of virtues like compassion, etc. since they were born. While others look as though they are given birth to with little to no moral conscience, which seems to be essential for virtue to are present. However what this signifies is just that the building blocks of virtue is inborn, not that this can't be discovered.

In the same way that we comprehend the fact that one may be preached how to be virtuous but neglect to be virtuous used, the converse is also possible: people can refine the ways they understand virtue, they may become more virtuous by reflective practice, and their views of how to do something in a virtuous way changes significantly as they develop up. In my own view, if Plato put his questions in different ways (that is if he previously asked whether virtue can be discovered, rather than whether virtue can be educated) he could have found a much more affirmative answer.

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