A Commentary on Plato's Meno by Jacob Klein

Greek Roman

By Jacob Klein

The Meno, essentially the most generally learn of the Platonic dialogues, is obvious afresh during this unique interpretation that explores the discussion as a theatrical presentation. simply as Socrates's listeners may have wondered and tested their very own pondering in keeping with the presentation, so, Klein exhibits, may still glossy readers get involved within the drama of the discussion. Klein deals a line-by-line remark at the textual content of the Meno itself that animates the characters and dialog and punctiliously probes each one major flip of the argument."A significant addition to the literature at the Meno and invaluable studying for each pupil of the dialogue."—Alexander Seasonske, Philosophical Review"There exists no different remark on Meno that's so thorough, sound, and enlightening."—ChoiceJacob Klein (1899-1978) was once a scholar of Martin Heidegger and a educate at St. John's university from 1937 till his dying. His different works contain Plato's Trilogy: Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Statesman, additionally released through the college of Chicago Press.

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W e see that Socrates' methodical effort has been in vain, is unable to draw the inference suggested by the exam- 5] [72 d 4 - 73 a 52 [73 a 6 - c 5] pies presented to him. But, on the other hand, we should ask is this inability altogether blindness? Is there not justification for Meno's reluctance to follow Socrates at this point? Does not human excellence belong to an order different from that of strength and tallness and health? And if Meno is not very quick in crossing the eidetic bridge built for him by Socrates, at least he does not run the danger of joining the ranks of those "friends of ideas" 4 5 who, in ness to embrace the doctrine, might miss its m< points.

T h e irony is compounded by the immediately following example given by Socrates to describe the dearth of wisdom in Athens. Nobody, says Socrates, nobody in Athens would react to Meno's question in any other way than by that, far from knowing the m a n n e r in which comes into being, he did not even know what, all in all, Frogs 1491-99. by St. , 1935, P. 256). at ixoXatrta. VII, 10, 2. (cf. for Socrates, actually no one in Athens would make such an assertion. Later in the dialogue (92 e - 93 a ) , we hear Anytus —an Athenian as good as any, even though his reputation may have been somewhat tarnished 23 —claim that any reputable Athenian citizen could teach a man lessons in human excellence, and the implication seems to be that any reputable citizen would know what the subject matter of those lessons is.

What Critias says is far from wrong perhaps, but the possible rightness of his statement is at best "in words" only: his possibly being right does not mean, as we see a short while later, that he, in fact, possesses sophrosyne and understands what he is saying. W h a t Socrates, on the other hand, has to say about his "fear" manifests "in deed," manifests shiningly, Socrates' own sophrosyne ** Socrates proceeds to "refute" Critias' statement. T h i s refutation consists in comparing knowledge that knows itself (a) with a set of human faculties which seem to preclude their ever making themselves their own object: vision (6\Jas) does not see itself, hearing (ami/) does not hear itself, and analogously no other sensing power (atadrjcns) and also no desiring (ewiOvfjila), no willing (PovXtjctls) , no loving (eptos), no fearing (06j8os), no opining (<56£a)— so it seems, at least—can ever make itself its own object (167 c 8 - 168 a 5 ) ; (b) with a set of relations between multitudes and magnitudes of all kinds, relations which quite obviously cannot be made to apply to themselves: the "greater" cannot be greater with respect to itself, the "double" cannot be the double of itself, the "heavier" heavier than itself, the "older" older than itself, and so on (168 b 5 - d 3 ) .

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