Plato's Hypothetical Inquiry in the Meno

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This paper argues that the hypothesis proposed in the Meno is the proposition ‘virtue is good’ alone, and that its epistemic nature is essentially insecure. It has been an object of huge scholarly debate which other hypothesis Socrates posited with regard to the relationship between virtue and knowledge. This debate is, however, misleading in the sense of making us believe that the hypothesis that virtue is good is regarded as a truism in the light of the process of positing a higher hypothesis described in the Phaedo and the Republic. I argue that the hypothesis in question is presented as a result of the earlier discussion of Meno's third definition of virtue, which implies the consequence that morally correct actions are beneficial whether or not accompanied by conventional goods such as wealth and honour. The underlying role of presenting it as a hypothesis is therefore to postpone demonstrating the truth of a controversial thesis which needs a substantial justification. In conclusion, I s...
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Archival date: 2019-04-29
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