Chapter

The Road to Larisa

Roslyn Weiss

in Virtue in the Cave

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140767
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833849 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195140761.003.0005
 The Road to Larisa

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Socrates reluctantly turns from his preferred question of what virtue is to Meno's preferred question of the teachability of virtue – a question that Socrates would surely never have permitted to arise if he intended the claim that “all learning is recollection” to be taken seriously. Socrates tests for the teachability of virtue by asking if virtue is knowledge on the hypothesis that anything teachable must be knowledge. Although virtue, as something good, turns out indeed to be knowledge, Socrates discounts virtue's teachability and ultimately, its status as knowledge, on the grounds that there are not teachers of it. Anytus, a democrat and politician, who is the son of Anthemion, a wealthy and good man, fails to establish that there are teachers of virtue. If virtue is not natural and is not knowledge, it can only be true opinion – unless the virtue being considered is the success that politicians enjoy by dint of the divine gift of eudoxia, good repute.

Keywords: Anthemion; Anytus; divine gift; Eudoxia; hypothesis; Meno; Socrates; teachability of virtue; virtue is knowledge

Chapter.  21928 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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