KA?OI ??G?? IN PLATO'S MENO Meno, a gentle, just, brave, quick-witted, beautiful, wealthy, imperious aristocrat from Thessaly, who sees µe?a??p??pe?a in his soul, asks Socrates to reveal the aition of ??et?. Meno and the man of ??et? in the taxonomy of the ??eta? in Meno's first definition seem to belong to the same political caste, both of them householders with some degree of agency, who participate with others in managing the city's affairs. Meno's hoards of gold and silver came by inheritance and, possibly, from his family's relations with the Persian Great King; he has won honors and offices on his own. Meno's ambition is unsatisfied. He apparently harbors the intention to acquire the ??et? of the best men, plenipotentiary rulers over humankind, setting straight the cities, in which they speak for and accomplish many and great things (Men. 99d4). The ??et? of the citizen, which he possesses and practices, is an inferior doppelgänger of the ??et? that Meno aspires to. Conversation between interlocuters relies on a tacit agreement that continuing it fulfills their respective intentions. Those intentions are referenced by Meno in his third definition of the man of ??et?. He says “??et? seems to me to be, as the poet says, ‘taking pleasure in the beautiful things, and being able to’” (?a??e?? te ?a???s? ?a? d??as?a? [Men. 77b2?5]). The conversation’s interlocuters are enjoying that loosely defined condition. The erotic Socrates is gratified by Meno's beauty. Socrates’ dunamis that procures him that pleasure is his ability to enunciate ?a??? ????? that gratify Meno in turn. References to a logos that seems well said (?a??? ???es?a?) occur twelve times in Plato, five times in the Meno. (The approbative locution ?a??? ???e?? occurs 40 times in Plato). The phrase ?a??? ????? occurs once in Plato at Tht. 210d10 where Socrates characterizes an argument that has proved to contradict itself as a ?a??? ????? that has fled and run away. For ease of exposition, ?a??? ????? in these pages expresses the sense of a logos that seems ?a??? ???es?a?. The problématique of a ?a??? ????? lies in ascertaining its validitiy. Socrates describes the process of validating it: a ?a??? ????? must have seemed genuine in the past, seem genuine in the present, and in the future, if any of it is to be sound (Men. 89a8?10). Its perpetuation over time is epistemologically significant. At Grg. 509a4?5, the ?a??? ????? that Socrates has propounded to Callicles has been re-examined frequently by its author and invariably confirmed: ?? ??? ??? ???? ?a??? ???e??: ?pe? ?µ???e ? a?t?? ????? ?st?? ?e?. Unlike Meno, Callicles is not gratified by hearing that ?a??? ?????. Socrates observes at Men. 98a3?4 that bridging the gulf between temporarily possessing the true doxa of a genuine ?a??? ????? and obtaining epistemological certainty requires an a?t?a? ????sµ?? (a logic of causation) to tie down the doxa, lest it run away, so as to make it into genuine knowledge for perpetuity. Which of Socrates' remarks may be construed as ?a??? ?????? In the course of teaching Meno the distinction between genus and species, Socrates directs him to define the genus of shape as practice for the assigned task of inquiry into ??et? in and of itself. Meno demurs and bids the teacher define it himself. Meno is asked if he wants Socrates to gratify him by so doing (????e? s?? ?a??s?µa?; [76b2]). Meno replies, "Yes, gratify me!" Socrates announces his intention to gratify Meno (?a????µa? ??? s?? [76c2?3]). He goes on to define shape twice and, making use of Empedocles' theory of effluences, color, odor and sound. Meno asks to hear more logoi. The interlocuters are reciprocally delighting in Socrates' ?a??? ????? and Meno's beauty; regarding the latter, Socrates observes that Meno has doubtless noticed his weakness for beautiful men (?a? ?µa ?µ?? ?s?? ?at?????a? ?t? e?µ? ?tt?? t?? ?a??? [76c1?2]). The dramatic details referenced above are an exact analogue to Meno's third definition of the man of ??et? who delights in beautiful things and is able to do so. Meno refutes Socrates' first attempt to define shape, politely terming the definition itself silly, not Socrates for saying it. Socrates accepts the refutation with bad grace. He then propounds a second definition of shape to which Meno made no objection. However, Socrates himself, apparently unwittingly, later provides counterfactuals that disconfirm both of his definitions of shape. During the geometry demonstration with the slave-boy, Socrates draws figures in the dirt with a stick. In the case of those shapes, the color inside their borders is the same as outside. That dramatic fact disconfirms the first definition of shape at Men. 75b9?11, that it "accompanies color." According to the second definition, shape is the two dimension termination or edge of a solid. As Socrates has been teaching Meno the distinction between the genus "shape" and the different species of shape, and citing circles and rectangles as examples of the latter, the shapes in the pair of definitions would most likely be geometrical shapes. Accordingly, a square maps onto a cube, a triangle onto a pyramid, a circle onto a sphere. That mapping is absent in the case of geometrical shapes drawn in the dirt. Earth considered as a three-dimension solid has no correspondance with two-dimension figures drawn on her. That negative fact disconfirms the second definition of shape. If those readings are sound, Plato represents Socrates delivering a pair of false ?a??? ????? unwittingly. The corrolary of doing so would be delivering false ?a??? ????? intentionally. So far, the ?a??? ????? have all been provided or borrowed by Socrates, with the exception of Meno's first definition, the taxonomy of the ??eta? which Aristotle reprises at Pol. 1260a21?24. At Men. 80d5?8, Meno poses his famous paradox: And how, Socrates, will you seek an existing thing of which you know nothing? Of (sc. the set of) things of which you know nothing, what sort of thing are you proposing that you will seek? And even at best if you should chance upon it, how would you know that that thing is the thing you did not know? Meno seems to realize belatedly that the avowal at Men. 71b4?7, that Socrates knows none of the qualia of unknowns that he seeks to know, renders inquiry into them impossible. Socrates paraphrases Meno's paradox, first dismissing it out of hand by characterizing it as a bad faith eristic quibble, the same rhetoric with which he grudgingly accepted Meno's refutation of his first definition of shape. The paraphrase of Meno's ?a??? ???????a unitary argument even after Socrates humorously extends it to cover those already possessing settled knowledge being reduced to idleness ??does not alter its meaning, just as a tragic myth in the hands of different authors retains its intention. Meno asks if what he originally said, and has just heard paraphrased, seems to Socrates to be a (sc. genuine) ?a??? ????? (?????? ?a??? s?? d??e? ???es?a? ? ????? ??t??, ? S???ate?;). His self-approbation as its author indicates that Meno hears in Socrates' paraphrase simply a more complete expression of his ?a??? ?????. Socrates replies disingenuously “Not to me.” Asked to explain why, Socrates parries the question by advancing the myth that human beings are reborn after death. As everyone has seen "all the things" in past lives as well as in the afterlife in between reincarnations, knowledge of everything is buried within the soul and may be uncovered through the process of recollection. Socrates subsumes Meno’s negative criticism of Men. 71b4?7, and cures the flaw in the foundation statement that the paradox alluded to. He inserts into the exposition of the recollection theory the tenet that all of nature is interrelated (?te ??? t?? f?se?? ?p?s?? s???e???? ??s?? [Men. 81c8?d1]). Imposing that tenet on the epistemological impasse of the foundation statement restores the feasibiltiy of inquiry into unknown things. In order to validate the theory of Recollection, Socrates poses a problem in geometry to an uneducated slave-boy. Through Socrates' skillful questioning of him, the slave-boy seems to solve the problem on his own. Aside its putative confirmation of the theory of the recollection of “all the things,” the slave-boy’s apparent success in solving a problem in geometry under skillful questioning reproduces a notable phenomenon: the easiness that many, apparently Plato among them, have experienced in learning mathematics. The ?a??? ????? that humans possess innate mathematical intuition, was reprised by Kant and other philosophers, and is supported by recent findings in cognitive science. Having established that inquiry is worthwhile, albeit hard work, Socrates again proposes a joint search for ??et? in and of itself. Meno sidesteps that injunction, and deftly sets Socrates to his task, to say what the aition of ??et? is. The great ?a??? ????? in the Meno seems to be Socrates' re-investigation of and reconfirmed findings about the qualia of ??et?, their relationships inter se, and their several aitiai (Men. 87b2?90a1). At Men. 89a4?5, Meno remarks that the things Socrates is saying seem ?a??? ???es?a? and, at Men. 89c7, that what has just been said seems ?a??? ???es?a?. Alcibiades reveals in the Symposium at 217a2?5 his motivation in attempting to seduce Socrates: “believing that he was serious regarding my beauty . . . circumstances allowed me (sc. to attempt) to gratify Socrates, and thereby hear all the things he knew”(p??t? ????sa? ?sape? ??t?? ?de?). Meno’s motivation to associate with Socrates is the same as Alcibiades’. The findings about ??et? are some of the things that Socrates knows. Hearing that ?a??? ????? arms Meno with the true doxa that f????s?? should govern his bravery, quick-wittedness and s?f??s???, lest they turn to harm. Socrates observes that the f????s??-governed ??et? of the very small number of the best men possesses a share of divinity (?e?a µ???a) bestowed intentionally by some god, unlike other parts of ??et? such as bravery or a quick wit, whose steady state distribution among human beings suggests that their aitiai represent a mindless regularity of Nature. Were Meno to acquire the f????s??-governed ??et? of the best men, and exercise plenipotentiary rule over other men, he would best consider himself a vehicle of divine intention. At Men. 76e8?9, Socrates expresses regret that Meno is soon to end his visit to Athens, which he was informed of the day before. Meno states that he is prepared to extend his stay to hear more of Socrates' logoi. Socrates fears that his store of such logoi will run out. A Socratic conversation with the same interlocuter spanning two or more days is unique. One may ask why Socrates terminates the conversation and departs without explanation. Plato seems to provide multiple reasons for Socrates to do so. Socrates expressed the fear he might run out of ?a??? ?????, which may be the case after he delivers the great ?a??? ????? at Men. 87b2?90a1. The Anytus interlude soured the mood. Socrates' intention that his student collaborate in searching for ??et? in and of itself has been repeatedly stymied. Like Konnos as described in the Euthydemus, Socrates is quick to anger faced with a recalcitrant student, as frequently in the Meno and, again like Konnos, may have ceased to be concerned with Meno's welfare. Appendix A: a biography of Meno Commentators usually deprecate Meno's character, their negative impression reinforced by Socrates' in-your-face insults of the man. Aside Socrates' insults, Plato's characterisations of Meno are these. At Rep. 6.494a4?e6, Socrates describes a politically ambitious young man of exceptional natural gifts. The external goods of the promising young man in the Republic and Meno in the Meno are the same. The former is wealthy, of aristocrat status and, as well, comely and tall (p???s??? . . . ?e??a??? . . . e?e?d?? . . . µ??a?). Meno is beautiful, wealthy and of aristocratic status (?a??? . . . p???s??? . . . ?e??a??? [Men. 71b6?7]). Like their external goods, the psychic goods of the young man in the Republic and those of Meno are the same. The young man in the Republic possesses a quick wit (e?µ??e?a), a strong memory (µ??µ?), bravery (??d?e?a), and magnificence (µe?a??p??pe?a). When Socrates proposes that they "look into the things in souls" (t? ?at? t?? ????? s?e??µe?a) at Men. 88a8–b1, Meno looks into the things of his own soul, the only one available for him to look into. He affirms that in addition to seeing s?f??s??? and justice in his soul, he sees bravery, a quick wit, a strong memory and µe?a??p??pe?a. The meaning of µe?a??p??pe?a in the soul is a puzzle. In surviving texts the term is associated with expensive liturgies and extravagant feasts. I suggest that Meno seeing µe?a??p??pe?a in his soul is tantamount to recognizing his intention to do great things greatly. At Men. 94b1, Socrates characterizes Pericles as possessing political wisdom together with µe?a??p??pe?a (?e?????a, ??t?? µe?a??p?ep?? s?f?? ??d?a). Pericles freely spent the tribute money of the allies to enhance Athens with magnificent temples during the years of his dominance in the ekklesia (445?29 BCE). The adolescent Theaetetus is brave (??d?e???), quick-witted (e?µa??) and gentle (p????). Meno and Theaetetus share those psychic attributes. Theaetetus fought bravely at Corinth. Meno presumably fought bravely in the military adventures recounted in Xenophon’s Anabasis. Theaetetus displays quick-wittedness throughout Theaetetus. Meno claims title to a quick wit, and occasionally displays it. In a rapid fire series of questions about geometry requiring yes or no answers, Meno effortlessly spots the fallacious proposition that round is no more round than it is rectangular (Men. 74e7). And his instant refutation of Socrates' first definition of shape, that it relies on an undefined term, is the exercise of a quick wit. Several indices point to Meno possessing a gentle disposition. On the one hand, he indulges in the behavior of an aristocrat and a beauty at Men. 71b9–c2, 75b1, and 76b1–2, enjoying a license not available to the very ugly Theaetetus. On the other hand, his responses to Socrates’ rank insults are invariably mild: he simply asks Socrates to explain why he is saying them. He tempers his refutal of Socrates' first definition of shape by calling the definition silly (t??t? ?e e???e?), not Socrates himself for saying it. Consider also Meno's and Anytus' different manner in speaking of the mortal danger Socrates' lifestyle is putting him in. The harsh-tempered Anytus imbues his warning of that danger with an air of menace (Men. 94e2–95a1). No menace attends Meno’s version of the same observation (Men. 80b4–7). He reports that Socrates has numbed his mind, rendering him unable to justify his deepest convictions, observing insightfully that “if you went on like this as a stranger in any other city, you would very likely be taken up for a wizard." The foreigner Meno does not realize that Socrates is in danger also in Athens. Reminiscent of Socrates' odd prediction at the end of the Theaetetus (210c2–4), that the gentle (p????) Theaetetus' future philosophical inquiries will make him less harsh (?tt?? . . . ßa???) towards his comrades and more gentle (?µe??te???), Socrates urges Meno to behave more gently (p???te???) when refuting another's definition. And at the end of the dialogue, at Men. 100b8–c1, Socrates bids Meno strive to make the harsh Anytus more gentle (??a p???te??? ?), a senseless injunction unless Meno possesses a gentle disposition. Appendix B: Meno's first and second definitions of ??et? Socrates puts Meno to the task of defining ??et? without reference to any of its qualia such as justice, piety, or courage. Meno eagerly delivers a practiced ?a??? ????? expressed in Gorgianic prosody, laying down a taxonomy of the various human conditions whose exemplary behavior is informed by various ??eta? [excellences], namely that of the slave, the free man, children male and female, the old, and the wife of the householder. The paradigm case of ??et? is the householder who is competent (??a???) to manage the city’s business (t? t?? p??e?? p??tte?? [Men. 71e1]) (sc. with the other burghers in the ekklesia). That man benefits his circle of friends and family, and contrives to harm unfriendly neighbors without suffering retribution, as cities do. Socrates is not impressed. He dismisses the taxonomy out of hand for producing a swarm of ??eta?, not the single ??et? that Meno has been tasked to define. Socrates orders Meno back to his task. Meno less eagerly than before defines ??et? this way: “What other than to be able to rule over human beings (Men. 73c8?d1)—in that you are seeking some one thing in regard to all (sc. of the ??eta?).” The man of ??et? in Meno’s initial definition, who is competent to participate in managing the city’s business, shares collectively with others the individual plenipotentiary agency exercised by the man of ??et? of the second definition. As stated above, Meno's ambition is unsatisfied; he apparently harbors the intention to become a ruler exercising plenipotentiary power over other others, like the man of ??et? of his second definition. Appendix C: Socrates' foundation statement at Men. 71b4?7 Meno's paradox pointed out that according to Socrates' foundation statement, inquiry is impossible. (The tenet advanced in the theory of Recollection that all of nature is interrelated restored the feasibility of inquiry). In the foundation statement, Socrates states that he knows nothing whatsoever about what sort of thing ??et? is. Socrates' ?a??? ????? at Men. 87b2?90a1 about the qualia of ??et?, namely its parts, their relationships inter se and their several aitiai, renders Socrates' assertion that he does not know the qualia of ??et? false to the facts. Socrates generalizes that assertion as applying to all unknowns. He advances an analogy to validate the assertion about ??et? and its generalization. With the exception of Verdenius and Fine, commentators provide various ways of reading the analogy so as to make it true to the the facts. I argue that the analogy, like the part of the foundation statement that falsely avows ignorance of the qualia of ??et?, is false to the facts. The core truth claim of the analogy is that someone who doesn't know who a person is, would not know any of his qualities. Socrates hypothesizes someone who in no way at all knows who Meno is, in which case she would not know whether Meno is beautiful, or rich, or even an aristocrat, or the reverse. The analogy refutes itself specifically in this regard: someone who does not know at all who Meno is, would in fact know that he is beautiful, wealthy, and of aristocratic status by virtue of seeing him, and inferring those attributes from what is seen. There is no contemporary testimony regarding the original mode of performance of Plato's writings. As the Meno is a performed dialogue, the original audiences may have watched and listened to it being enacted by dramatis personae impersonating Socrates, Meno, the slave-boy and Anytus. Whether reading the Meno out loud, or listening to and watching its enactment, the audience is imaginatively present at the proceedings, like a modern reader immersed in the mise en scčne of a good novel. Where is Socrates' hypothesized "someone who does not recognize Meno" hypothetically located? Like the dramatis personae, and the audience hearing or reading the text out loud, she might also be imaginatively present at the proceedings, beholding Meno whom she does not recognize. Or she might be imagined to be located elsewhere, off-stage and out of sight of the proceedings (White, Fine, Scott),20 or even disappear entirely, replaced by decontextualized conceptual problems (Verdenius, Klein, Thomas).19, 20 I argue for the former, because the specific properties (beauty, wealth, aristocratic status), which Socrates selects from the many other attributes of the foreigner from Thessaly, are visible in his person, thus would be known by virtue of being seen by the hypothesized person, were she present at the proceedings. Indeed, if she is to fail to recognize Meno, she must be present, for according to Plato’s epistemology of personal recognition, one must see or hear a person in order to recognize someone one knows, or to realize that one doesn't know who she is. To see a beautiful man unknown to one is to know in a flash that he is beautiful. Also, one may infer, from seeing the many servants who attend him, that the unknown man is wealthy. As for the unknown man's aristocratic status, that may be seen in the magnificence of his carriage typical of his caste, in the way he holds his face, and by the figure he affects, in sum by his haughty projection of privileged self. At Rep. 4.425b3?4, Socrates calls the ensemble of elements that make up a particular stance "in general the deportment of the body" (?a? ???? t?? t?? s?µat?? s??µat?sµ??). At Rep. 6.494a4?e6, a promising young man who, like Meno, is rich, handsome, and of aristocratic status, is rebuked by a philosopher for "imagining himself prepared to rule over Greeks and barbarians, and elevating himself in the thought of it, puffed up in magnificent stance (s??µat?sµ?? . . . ?µp?µp??µe???), with a vacant mind full of senseless fancies." Those passages in the Republic permit the inference that Meno's s??µat?sµ?? is visible, as is his beauty, and his entourage of servants, and would be seen and recognized as signifying aristocratic status by someone who does not know that she is beholding the son of Alexidemus. And if she fails to grasp the significance of his s??µat?sµ??, the next remark out of Meno's mouth confirms his aristocratic status. Meno offhandedly agrees that it is impossible for someone who does not know who he is, to know that he is beautiful, wealthy and of aristocratic status. Surprised by Socrates’ avowal of ignorance regarding ??et?, he goes on to ask, at Men. 71c1?2, “if we may announce back home (sc. your eccentric opinions about ??et?)?” The contemporary audience of the dialogue listening to those words would recognize Meno's aristocratic status by hearing him use the pluralis majestatis, a mode of speech that employs the first person plural to signal privileged status. The considerations above demonstrate that Socrates' analogy in support of the foundation statement is intentionally false to the facts. The denial that someone observing Meno, whose identity she does not know, would realize in seeing and hearing him that he is beautiful, wealthy and of aristocratic status, seems to be an intentionally false ?a??? ?????. In exculpation of the flagrant deception of Meno by Socrates denying that he knows the qualia of ??et?, and advancing an analogy false to the facts, the foundation statement identifies Socrates' enduring philosophical concern: to know what ??et? is in and of itself. Indeed he means to inquire into that conundrum and bids Meno do so throughout the dialogue. Plato's theory of the Ideas––passed over in silence in the Meno––will provide the toolkit for that inquiry. Socrates is reluctant to re-examine and reconfirm what he already knows about the qualia of ??et?, namely its parts, their relationships inter se and their several aitiai, and only does so at Meno's insistence. Michael Eisenstadt Austin Works Cited Bluck, R. S. (1961) Plato's "Meno." Cambridge. Canto-Sperber, M. (1993) Platon "Ménon." Paris. Dehene, S., Izard, V., Pica, P., and Spelke, E. (2006) Core Knowledge of Geometry in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Science NS 311, No. 5759 (Jan. 20) 381?84. Fine, G. 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