A logical fallacy that interests me and that I’m guilty of committing is “hasty generalization”, when you are quick to assume something and jump to a conclusion before you have seen or gathered any background evidence, for example if you were to have a first class in a certain subject and it didn’t go too well, you would assume that “this class will suck for the whole year” when you’ve only had one class. To make a fair evaluation the person must attend not one but several classes for it to be a reasonable conclusion. It also accommodates according to the person’s personal beliefs, so say in a class a particular student disliked, they would jump to the conclusion that the class would suck for the rest of the year, while other students who may enjoy it may not jump to the same conclusion.
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Plato’s “Meno” part 3-4
In the third part of this script, we see Meno and Socrates return to the topic of whether virtue can be taught or not, as well as talking about if virtue is good or evil. They encounter a question that stumps Meno as well as me.
“So since it is not by nature that the good become good, is it by education?” (p.32)
This question interests me as it opens up a large question not for me, but for everyone.
Is goodness and kindness a virtue within a person from birth, or does it need to be taught? The same applies with evil. Is one evil by nature? Or does there need to be some external force influencing one to become evil?
Meno response part 1
Something that struck me as interesting is the way that virtue is relative from person to person. Meno says that the virtue of a woman is different than that of a man, and that the virtue of a slave is different from the virtue of a free man. Socrates responds that all these examples of virtue must share something universally. I think virtue that everyone should have is honesty and kindness, though this idea does make some sense, it is quite outdated.
Meno then says that virtue is the ability to rule men. He is defining virtue as the ability to fulfill one’s purpose (a slave to work, a soldier to kill in battle etc.) He says the ultimate virtue of men is happiness and the satisfaction of desires, which are mostly made up of being powerful. Socrates responds by saying being powerful can only be virtuous if it is just, which I completely agree with, as virtue is good and moral qualities in a person.
Meno’s third reason is that virtue is the ability to desire and acquire nice things. Socrates says that everyone desires what they think is good or beautiful, it matters in how they acquire such goods. Meno then agrees that it is only a virtue if the good is acquired in the good way. I can agree with this since people have desires, as I do, but it all comes down to how you acquire it.
Plato’s Meno Part 2
In the second part of Plato’s “Meno”, Meno is confused on how one can learn something if they dont already know about it.
Socrates explains that we don’t learn, instead we simply recollect and are reminded of things learnt in a past life, “when I say there is no teaching but only recollection” (page 17)
This opens up a lot about belief, as Socrates clearly has a biased opinion on the topic since he is religious and believes in the afterlife. Even if his point does make sense in some aspects, it clearly has some altered belief due to religion.
We also see Socrates questions a boy on dimensions of a square, and as Meno observed, he saw that as Socrates asked more and more questions, the boy would get lost and not know the answer, but once more questions were asked, the boy began to understand and piece 2 and 2 together and got the correct answer.
This shows us we can piece together and formulate answers not by being taught something, but by simply piecing broken fragments together from questions to gain more understanding and obtain a solution.