Conhecimento e Definição no Mênon de Platão

Kinesis 12 (31):172-185 (2020)
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Abstract

Through detailed analysis of Plato’s Meno, I identify and set general argumentative rules (useful both to scientists and philosophers) concerning how to use definitions. I show how the character Socrates establishes strong requirements for knowledge in general, i.e., that the knowledge of the definition of a thing must be prior to the knowledge of properties or instances of that thing. Socrate’s requirements and the way he characterizes a definition (as coextensive to the definiendum, not circular, true and explanatorily relevant) lead Meno to aporia and to enunciate the famous Meno’s Paradox concerning the impossibility of inquiry for knowledge. That only occurs because Meno is unable to identify Socrate’s dialectical move: strong requirements for knowing a definition, the priority of the knowledge of the definition and the taking of all knowledge to be like the knowledge by acquaintance. After the paradox, Socrate’s proceeds the discussion using hypotheses to map the truth conditions of some theses Meno is inquiring about. I explain what are Meno’s paradox, the socratic definition and the Method of Hypotheses, in a way só as to find in this classical text in the history of philosophy general principles of argumentation that are still usefull today.

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Davi Heckert César Bastos
University of Campinas

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