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Plato: Meno (Classical Texts) (Ancient Greek) Paperback – 1 Jan 1985

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Aris & Phillips Ltd (1 Jan. 1985)
  • Language: Ancient Greek
  • ISBN-10: 0856682497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856682490
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.2 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Fine translation, good notes--inexpensive, too!--D.A. Rohatyn, University of San Diego Unmistakably superior: more lucid, more accurate, more readable. Above all, they're lucidly adorned, unpretentious, and in translating Plato that counts a good deal. The prose is, as English prose, persuasive, cogent, and as eloquent as it can be without departing from the text.--William Arrowsmith --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
Meno is one of Plato's early and, to my mind, least successful, Socratic dialogues. The conversation centers, naturally enough, on virtue and whether or not it is teachable. Meno's definitions of virtue are woefully inadequate, by and large, and deserving of Socrates' typical arrogance. At one point, Meno says that one cannot learn about what one does not know. To counter this argument, Socrates, arguing that the soul is eternal and that learning is in fact recollection, sets about showing him how an ignorant slave "remembers" the answers to geometrical questions Socrates puts to him. Later, when Meno agrees with the notion that virtue is knowledge and can be taught, Socrates counters the point by saying he has yet to find anyone who truly practices virtue and is thus qualified to teach it. In the end, Socrates concludes that virtue cannot be taught and is in fact a gift of the gods. Only the gods have true knowledge and can thus do nothing wrong, in Socrates' opinion.
The whole "knowledge is recollection" argument dominates my reaction to this dialogue, as the demonstration of geometrical knowledge involving a slave never sits well with me. One should not really look for answers in Meno, as the whole dialogue ends with little more than open questions. Many of the same ideas were developed much more completely in The Republic.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socrates is saucy! 27 Aug. 2008
By Shannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Meno, an early Platonic dialogue, centers on virtue and illustrates the classic Socratic Method. Meno begins the dialogue by asking, "Can you tell me, Socrates, can virtue be taught?"

Socrates claims that to answer such a question, a person would have to know what virtue is. An incredulous Meno asks, "Socrates, do you really not know what virtue is?"

Socrates responds, "Not only that, my friend, but as I believe, I have never yet met anyone else who did know."

And so Socrates and Meno engage in a question-and-answer investigation of what virtue is and if it can be taught. They explore how to define words, how people learn, whether virtue is knowledge, and the difference between true opinion and knowledge. The process at one point leads Meno to call Socrates a "broad torpedo fish," capable of numbing the mind with his probing questions.

G.M.A. Grube does a great job translating, and his footnotes aren't intrusive. If you're wondering what the Socratic Method entails, Meno is a good introduction that satisfies that curiosity without being too dense. But if you want to fully learn Plato's opinion of virtue and its properties (and the immortality of the soul), you might want to check out Protagoras (where Plato reaches the opposite conclusion than in this dialogue) and, of course, The Republic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 24 Aug. 2011
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To my mind the Meno is among the most mysterious of Plato's dialogues. Beginning with a discussion as to whether virtue can be taught, the interlocutors move into an inquiry into the nature of knowledge itself. Here we get a famous scene in which Plato demonstrates his theory of knowledge as recollection through an illustration in geometry. This is principally a work of epistemology, but it remains a strangely oblique portrait of eidetic truth.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No reason to get the hackett edition 16 May 2012
By David T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First off, I don't see any reason for anyone to get this edition, the other Hackett Edition called Five Dialogues contains this along with four other dialogues (including the great Apology), I don't see any reason why not to pay a couple more dollars for it.

This was somewhat interesting, Socrates meets with Meno to discuss what virtue is and how can it be acquired. Meno seems to have some ideas but he comes in contact with a broad torpedo fish (Socrates) and this leaves him numb and in a state of perplexity, in the end we're not really sure what virtue is but we know a few things its not.

The thing this seems to be best remembered for a part where Socrates questions a slave to prove that souls already learned everything before inhabiting a human. To prove this Socrates asks a series of leading questions which the slave gets wrong but then upon further leading questions he figures out the answer. This seems to prove the preknowledge to everyone, although I don't see how anyone getting some questions right when they're lead to the conclusion to prove anything of the sort, all it proves is that humans have the ability to think and learn.

Overall this dialogue was one of the first Socrates ones I've read and it was a good introduction to Plato, but with that being said, I think some of his other ones are far better. Its worth reading in any case and this same inborn knowledge will be brought up again (for example in Phaedo).
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can Virtue Be Taught? 12 Feb. 2004
By R. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For such a short story, so much is said. Reading Plato answers many questions and exposes the framework of so many later writers of history, a classic that should be read and contemplated. Spending the time reading on Plato's Meno reaps much, far more valuable than vast amounts of mediocre writers. Can you imagine if the masses spent as much time reading Plato as they do their shod journalism!
Actually this idea of virtue has the basics of all philosophical thought, the direction of the whole or the overall purpose always direct the thoughts. Virtue acts as the driving force of the empirical observation and technical craft. Virtue is the purpose, the why, as opposed to the what. And so, it has been determined from the conversation of Socrates and Meno, that virtue is not knowledge, it is not the "what" but rather it is that which moves the direction behind knowledge and therefore cannot be taught. And if it is not knowledge then it can be observed by example, yet Socrates determined that virtue is from a divine source, the inspiration that is behind all knowledge.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 8 Mar. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting look at what virtue is, and whether or not it can be taught. Plato places his mentor Socrates in the "driver's seat" of this conversation with Meno, one of his students. They discuss virtue, and the fact that A virtue is not the same as virtue itself. Socrates/Plato then continues on to debunk the idea that merit based on fighting skill/willingness, good judgment, or any of the other Greek notions of virtue are actually virtuous. This book gives insight into Greek thought and culture as it becomes a point for thought in this day and age. What, exactly, is virtue?

This particular edition has a lot of room on each side to enter notes and is a very readable and understandable translation of the original.
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