Download A Commentary on Plato's Meno by Jacob Klein PDF

By Jacob Klein

The Meno, probably the most broadly learn of the Platonic dialogues, is obvious afresh during this unique interpretation that explores the discussion as a theatrical presentation. simply as Socrates's listeners could have puzzled and tested their very own considering according to the presentation, so, Klein indicates, may still smooth readers get involved within the drama of the discussion. Klein bargains a line-by-line remark at the textual content of the Meno itself that animates the characters and dialog and punctiliously probes every one major flip of the argument.

Originally released in 1965.

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Cf. Apol. 30 b 4, Gorg. 527 b 6 and Rep. IX, 592 a 4, X , 599 d 5 - 6 : ISig. και δ-ημοσίφ (also V, 473 e 5) ; Apol. 20 b 4 - 5 : . . τψ άνθρωιτίνη! : τήν δημοτικών και πολιτικην άρ^τήν . . ; Tim. 87 b 1—2: Ιδίη. Τ€ καί δημοcrlq. (also 88 a 4 ) . 18. Cf. Isocrates, Contra Soph. 14-18, 21; De permut. 186-92, 274-75; Alcidamas, De Soph. 3 - 4 . , frs. , fr. ) T h e Platonic dialogues themselves raise this question persistently, notably in connection with Protagoras (cf. especially Protag. 323 d 6 - 7 ) ; see also, in particular, Phaedr.

H e should not be surprised in view of Socrates' r e p u t a t i o n with which he is not unfamiliar. O r is it, more directly, because Socrates reveals an astonishing lack of knowledge in a "simple" matter that concerns everybody, the matter of h u m a n excellence? Perhaps. ), he thereby confesses to not being virtuous? Such a confession would indeed be astonishing. W e do not often hear people readily a n d seriously a d m i t their own badness or viciousness. But if this be Meno's inference, he must tacitly assume that h u m a n excellence, as it manifests itself in a person, depends altogether on that person's knowing w h a t it is; he must, in other words, assume the validity of the famous Socratic dict u m that h u m a n excellence is knowledge, that knowledge, therefore, brings about excellence.

5. Socrates is not satisfied with Meno's statement because it does not answer the question he, Socrates, has raised. " whatever else may be said a b o u t it, tends, in its "simplicity," to cut across all the unavoidable ambiguities of what is commonly accepted both in speech a n d in fact. 3 7 T h a t makes the question itself rather dark for o u r c o m m o n understanding and requires, for the sake of elucidation, a special rhetorical effort on Socrates' part. I t seems, says Socrates, that a huge piece of good luck has struck him, since, searching for one arete, he has f o u n d a swarm of virtues.

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