Online via Zoom
Readers typically find the ending of Plato’s Meno difficult to take seriously at face value. The dialogue had concerned the nature of aretê (virtue) and how people become virtuous, and Socrates and Meno had bruited Socrates’ familiar claim that virtue is a kind of knowledge. Yet at the end Socrates apparently throws up his hands and leads Meno to agree that virtue must after all be not rational knowledge but some kind of divine inspiration or possession. On this account, good judgment simply comes over a person like a prophetic frenzy. In this 75th Anniversary lecture, we will consider the implications of reading the ending of Plato’s Meno as a straightforward challenge to Meno’s—and to readers’—ideas about what it means to know something.