The Meno’s Metaphilosophical Examples

Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):395-412 (2007)

Abstract

I propose that an ill-appreciated contrast between the examples Socrates gives Meno, to show him how he ought to philosophize, is the key to understanding the Meno. I contend that Socrates prefers hisdefinitions of shape to his account of color because the former are concerned with what shape is, while the latter is concerned with how color comes to be. This contrast suggests that Plato intends ananalogous contrast between the (properly philosophical) way of inquiry that leads to Socrates’ definition of knowledge as “true belief tied down with an account” and the (not properly philosophical) way of inquiry that leads to Socrates’ account of how knowledge comes to be, that is, the “theory of recollection.”

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Matthew King
Duke University

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