At the end of the Meno (around 100b), Socrates says that if Meno can convince Anytus of the things they have concluded in the dialogue he will provide a benefit to the Athenians. Given the...

At the end of the Meno (around 100b), Socrates says that if Meno can convince Anytus of the things they have concluded in the dialogue he will provide a benefit to the Athenians. Given the background of the Apology what do you think Socrates means by this?

Asked on by slazo17

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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This is an excellent question and I can see why you ask this, as this dialogue is not easy to understand. In fact, many of Socrates' dialogues (or we should say Plato's dialogues) end in what scholars call aporia, which means confusion. This is to say that Socrates questions his interlocutors to the point where they confess they do not know. This situation is actually an advancement in knowledge, because being confused is better than being convicted of something that is wrong. 

In this dialogue, the theme revolves around virtue or what the Greeks call "arete." In light of this, if Meno can convince Socrates what is the essence of virtue, then Meno would, indeed, be a blessing to all of Athens, as he would be giving insight into what they should be striving towards. To put it another way, if Meno is able to define virtue, then he would help the Athenians move towards it. 

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