Review of Metaphysics 29 (2):287 - 306 (1975)

Alexander Nehamas
Princeton University
It is said that when Socrates is made to ask questions like "What is the pious and what the impious?", "What is courage?", or "What is the beautiful?", he is asking for the definition of a universal. For the "average" Greek of his time, however, this is a radically new question about a radically new sort of object, and Socrates’ interlocutors do not understand it. They usually answer it as if it were a different, if related, question: they tend to provide concrete instances of the universal in question rather than a definition, however inadequate, of the universal itself. Socrates always tries, but does not always succeed, to make himself clear: Meno, for example, is supposed never to get the point.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1975292140
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Meno, the Slave Boy and the Elenchos.Hugh H. Benson - 1990 - Phronesis 35 (1):128-158.
The Origins of Dialectic in Ordinary Discourse.Lee Franklin - 2016 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 19 (1):88-104.

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