“Meno” a Socratic Dialogue by Plato – Philosophy Essay
Reading Meno by Plato, it is possible to define virtue in several different ways. However, using the general terms, virtue is “the power of governing justly” (Plato 2). However, this is not the only definition used by Meno in Plato’s dialogues. Reading the text closely, it becomes obvious that Meno offers several definitions of virtue depending on the sex and on the belonging of a person. Therefore, using several rules of good definitions, the notion virtues is going to be defined with the further explanation of the rules used for this,
Meno says that the virtue of a woman is to order the house and the virtue of a man is to govern the state. The difference is in the scale. However, each of the definitions of virtue should go along with temperance and justice (Plato). Therefore, considering the information in the article and trying to define the word virtue, the following considerations come to mind. Virtue is the power of governing justly and with temperance but depending on the age and on the sex different scope of the object of government is considered.
There are many different ways of defining the notions. Trying to explain what virtue means Meno uses various approaches to definition. Before considering the types of defining the notions used in the article, it is important to consider those types. There are four rules of definition, rule of equivalence, rule of essential characteristics, rule of neutrality, and rule of clarity. The main idea of the rule of equivalence is to present the notion explanation by means of using one or two words depending on the number of words the notion consists of.
This definition is always to narrow. The rule of essential characteristics points at some particular features of the notion under consideration. This definition is more specific, however, it cannot be called broad. The rule of neutrality is aimed at defining the notion using just simple words without referencing to the emotive tone.
Such definitions lack terminology and therefore it is understandable for other people who may have little knowledge in the notion under discussion. The rule of clarity is considered to apply to the most general and wide definition of the notion as while explaining the meaning of the word, it is necessary to be as specific as possible and at the same time to deliver the most detailed information about the notion.
Considering the definitions used by Meno in Plato’s work, it is possible to notice several types of definitions. The notion virtue in the piece of writing under discussion applies to the rule of essential characteristics and the rule of clarity. The rule of neutrality is not used as dwelling upon philosophical notions a person is unable to hide his/her emotions and the discussion remain passionate from this or that way. Additionally, the rule of equivalent is not used as well because of the same reasons.
The philosophical issues should be explained, but not just defined. The notion “virtue” is considered by two people and questions one person directs another one in defining the notion. Therefore, it is possible to say that the whole dialogue is the definition of the notion using the rule of clarity. Using the rule of clarity we also applied to the rule of essential characteristics to make sure that the is defined in a appropriate way.
Plato. Meno. pdf file. Print.
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Reading Meno by Plato, it is possible to define virtue in several different ways. However, using the general terms, virtue is “the power of governing justly” (Plato 2). However, this […]