MENO: With Introduction and Analysis

Protagoras Introduction & Analysis

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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece . He was also MENO: With Introduction and Analysis by [Plato]. Meno Introduction & Analysis. This Dialogue begins abruptly with a question of Meno, who asks, 'whether virtue can be taught.' Socrates replies that he does not .

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Meno, by Plato

Here's how terms and conditions apply. But it does seem that interpreting the method of hypothesis against the background of ancient Greek geometry is the right approach see esp. Sayre , Mueller In the later dialogues, Plato both refines his conception of knowledge as true belief plus an account in the Theaetetus and develops the method of hypothesis into the method of collection and division in the Phaedrus , Sophist , Politicus and Philebus.

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Its importance lies not just in the resulting classificatory trees but in the structural relationships they reveal and the insights it encourages into the formal concepts involved cf. He criticises the method of division, for example, in Parts of Animals I, But like Plato, he was inspired by ancient Greek geometry.

There are three passages in which Aristotle directly refers to geometrical analysis. The most famous passage occurs in the Nicomachean Ethics III, 3 , in which Aristotle compares reasoning about the means to a given end to analysis in geometry [ Quotation ]. The second passage occurs in section 16 of On Sophistical Refutations , where Aristotle considers the question of how we can learn to diagnose bad arguments [ Quotation ].

Although the passage is not easy to interpret, his main point seems to be to emphasize that analysis must be supplemented by synthesis to yield a full solution of anything. Just as the aim of the geometer is to solve geometrical problems construct figures or prove theorems , so too Aristotle was concerned to solve logical problems construct arguments or prove propositions. Working back from a given proposition, assumed as conclusion, to premises by means of which that proposition can be derived, is facilitated by a thorough training in the whole syllogistic system, which it was the aim of the Analytics to provide.

While the Prior Analytics is concerned with the theory of the syllogism in general, the Posterior Analytics is concerned with one particular type of syllogism, the demonstrative or scientific syllogism. He gives the example of the following two syllogisms I, That the planets do not twinkle is hardly an explanation of why they are near; but that they are near, according to Aristotle, is part of an explanation of why they do not twinkle 78ab3.


This distinction, and indeed the model of explanation involved here, was to play a crucial role in subsequent conceptions of analysis. For causal explanation itself became identified with logical deduction, and the movement from cause to effect was represented as the passage from premises to conclusion in a logical argument, and the finding of the cause of something as a matter of determining appropriate premises—something which could itself be done in a logical argument. On this conception, then, there could be a logic of discovery as well as a logic of proof.

In the first case above, we start with an effect the planets not twinkling and determine its cause the planets being near by finding an appropriate additional premise, and in the second case, having determined the cause, we reverse the process to display the passage from cause to effect.

Plato's Meno Can Virtue Be Taught? - Philosophy Core Concepts

The first was understood as analysis , providing a method of discovery, and the second as synthesis , providing a method of proof. Such a conception presupposes that the steps are reversible i. This conception of analysis and synthesis was to take center stage in the Renaissance and early modern period.

Supplement to Analysis Ancient Conceptions of Analysis 1.


We seem to find that the ideal of knowledge is irreconcilable with experience. But he has still a doubt lingering in his mind. At a later stage of the Platonic philosophy we shall find that both the paradox and the solution of it appear to have been retracted. While the Prior Analytics is concerned with the theory of the syllogism in general, the Posterior Analytics is concerned with one particular type of syllogism, the demonstrative or scientific syllogism. Courage then is knowledge, and cowardice is ignorance.

Introduction to Supplement 2. Ancient Greek Geometry 3. Now analysis is of two kinds.

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One seeks the truth, being called theoretical. The other serves to carry out what was desired to do, and this is called problematical. But if we come upon something false to admit, the thing sought will be false, too.