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  • Cited by 7
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    This (lowercase (translateProductType product.productType)) has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Margrethe Nielsen, Karen 2018. International Encyclopedia of Ethics. p. 1.

    Sato, Kunimasa 2014. Reconsideration of the Paradox of Inquiry. Science & Education, Vol. 23, Issue. 5, p. 987.

    Rowett, Catherine 2013. Wittgenstein and Plato. p. 196.

    Wiener, Chad 2011. Methodology in Socrates’ Examination of the Slave. Dialogue, Vol. 50, Issue. 03, p. 443.

    McCabe, Mary Margaret 2009. XII-Escaping One's Own Notice Knowing: Meno's Paradox Again. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Hardback), Vol. 109, Issue. 1pt3, p. 233.

    Horn, Christoph Müller, Jörn Söder, Joachim Schriefl, Anna and Weber, Simon 2009. Platon-Handbuch. p. 101.

    MACDONALD, SCOTT 2008. THE PARADOX OF INQUIRY IN AUGUSTINE'S CONFESSIONS. Metaphilosophy, Vol. 39, Issue. 1, p. 20.

  • Print publication year: 1992
  • Online publication date: May 2006

6 - Inquiry in the Meno


In most of the Socratic dialogues, Socrates professes to inquire into some virtue. At the same time, he professes not to know what the virtue in question is. How, then, can he inquire into it? Doesn't he need some knowledge to guide his inquiry? Socrates' disclaimer of knowledge seems to preclude Socratic inquiry. This difficulty must confront any reader of the Socratic dialogues; but one searches them in vain for any explicit statement of the problem or for any explicit solution to it. The Meno, by contrast, both raises it explicitly and proposes a solution.


Meno begins the dialogue by asking whether virtue is teachable (70a1-2). Socrates replies that he doesn't know the answer to Meno's question; nor does he at all (to parapan, 71a7) know what virtue is. The latter failure of knowledge explains the former; for “if I do not know what a thing is, how could I know what it is like?” (ho de mē oida ti estin, pōs an hopoion ge ti eideiēn; 71b3-4). Nonetheless, he proposes to inquire with Meno into what virtue is. Here, as in the Socratic dialogues, Socrates both disclaims knowledge and proposes to inquire.

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The Cambridge Companion to Plato
  • Online ISBN: 9781139000574
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