On the Teaching of Virtue in Plato's Meno and the Nature of Philosophical Authority

Socrates and Meno reach two different conclusions: in the first part of the dialogue, that virtue is knowledge and can therefore be taught; in the second, that it is reliable true opinion and can therefore be acquired only by divine inspiration. Taking into account Socrates’ role as a teacher (of his interlocutors and of Plato) and Plato’s role as a teacher (of us), I show that neither of these conclusions is consistent with the existence of philosophy as a human institution, and argue that, for this reason, Plato refuses ultimately to endorse either of them.
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DOI nyppp20101012
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