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Socrates On The Definition Of Figure In The Meno

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Chapter Summary

Plato?s Meno is, in its first part (up to 79e), an attempt to find a definition of virtue. Meno, Socrates? interlocutor, thinks that this is an easy task and provides Socrates with a list of virtues for several different persons, for a man, a woman, a child, an old man, a free man and a slave (71e?72a). According to the author, the ?figure? Socrates is about to define in the Meno refers to two-dimensional figures only and that solid figures simply do not fall under the heading of ?figure?. The author opines that the definition in Euclid is the result of a criticism made by Aristotle. In Top. vi 4, Aristotle discusses definitions which proceed from what is posterior to what is prior. Aristotle goes to some length to explain what the shortcomings of the definitions are and why they should be avoided in scientific discourse.

Keywords: Aristotle; Meno; Plato; Socrates



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