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Socrates and Meno at the apprenticeship retreat

Here I am at the apprentice retreat and everybody thinks I am dutifully typing notes, but really I’m blogging.

Just kidding. We’ve just completed a brief discussion about Plato’s short dialogue called the Meno in which Socrates discusses whether virtue can be taught with Meno and Plato gives two very clear models of Socratic dialectics. I highly recommend this dialogue to anybody who wants to understand the Socratic approach. In one case, Socrates models his approach to learning with Meno. In the other, he abbreviates it by interacting with a slave boy to teach him geometry. No time for detail, but here’s a very brief summary:

The Socratic mode

Stage one: Socrates and Meno are on different sides, Socrates striving to reveal the contradictions in Meno’s argument

Transition: metanoia (turning point/repentance): Meno admits: “I don’t know”

Stage two: Socrates and Meno are on the same side, journeying toward truth TOGETHER, neither pretending to know it.

Requires that both parties acknowledge that they don’t know

Thus Meno’s question: how can you seek something you don’t know

Anytus never hits metanoia so they never join together in the quest

More later. Now we have to discuss LTW II.

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