Roslyn Weiss

in Virtue in the Cave

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140767
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833849 | DOI:

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The end of the examined life is true opinion, since moral wisdom is unattainable by mere human beings. Socrates makes no claims to moral wisdom, though he is strongly committed to the moral beliefs he holds. Socratic statements in which the word “know” or “know well” appear, do not necessarily signal the presence of a knowledge claim; all people engaged in conversation use the term “know” colloquially to indicate that they or others feel confident or have the relevant worldly experience. Virtue is possible without knowledge as long as one attains both true opinions and lives by them and as long as one engages in lifelong critical self‐reflection. The Apology confirms the unattainability of moral wisdom by ordinary human beings, the value of true opinion when wisdom is out of reach, and the possibility of achieving virtue without wisdom.

Keywords: apology; examined life; moral wisdom; Socrates; true opinion; virtue; virtue without wisdom

Chapter.  6880 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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