Virtue Essay

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Wisdom in true virtue according to Meno and the Phaedo The most illustrious student Socrates had in philosophy was Plato, whose beautifully written dialogues not only offered an admiring account of the teachings of his master but also provided him with an opportunity to develop and express his own insightful philosophical views. In the remainder of our readings from Platonic dialogues, we will assume that the "Socrates" who speaks is merely a fictional character created by the author, attributing the philosophical doctrines to Plato himself. In the middle and late dialogues, Plato employed the conversational structure as a way of presenting dialectic, a pattern of argumentation that examines each issue from several sides, exploring the interplay of alternative ideas while subjecting all of them to evaluation by reason. Plato was a more nearly systematic thinker than Socrates had been. He established his own school of philosophy, the Academy, during the fourth century, and he did not hesitate to offer a generation of young Athenians the positive results of his brilliant reasoning. Although he shared Socrates’ interest in ethical and social philosophy, Plato was much more concerned to establish his views on matters of metaphysics and epistemology, trying to discover the ultimate constituents of reality and the grounds for our knowledge of them. Plato's Menwn (Meno) is a transitional dialogue: although it is Socratic in tone, it introduces some of the epistemological and metaphysical themes that we will see developed more fully in the middle dialogues, which are clearly Plato's own. In a setting uncluttered by concern for Socrates’ fate, it centers on the general problem of the origins of our moral knowledge. The Greek notion of areth, or virtue, is that of an ability or skill in some particular respect. The virtue of a baker is what enables the baker to produce

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