Can Virtue be Taught?

I’ll try to get back to my outstanding blog duties presently — I just haven’t had free time when I had internet access and visa-versa. Now that I’m moved in and a bit settled that should change. We started right in today with tutorial in the morning and preceptorial at night. For tutorial today we discussed the first part of Plato’s Meno, where Meno begins with the question: can virtue be taught? and Socrates replies: how can we know if it can be taught of not until we can say what it is? Much puzzlement ensues. Meno to Socrates:

Before I even met you I used to hear that you are always in a state of perplexity and that you bring others into the same state, and now I think you are bewitching and beguiling me, simply putting me under a spell, so that I am quite perplexed. Indeed, if a joke is in order, you seem, in appearance and in every other way, to be like the broad torpedo fish, for it too makes who comes close and touches it feel numb, and now you seem to have had that kind of effect on me, for both my mind and my tongue are numb, and I have no answer to give you. Yet I have made many speeches about virtue before large audiences on a thousand occasions, very good speeches as I thought, but now I cannot even say what it is. (Meno, 80:b)

For seminar we discussed Genesis 1-11, which was partly interesting, but I’m finding it rather difficult because I so much want to give Christian interpretation of a mystical Orthodox bent that I end up being quite circumspect and probably not very helpful, though I know the book fairly well.


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