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Wisdom in true virtue according to Meno and the Phaedo

Meno talked of wisdom and virtue while in conversation with Socrates on the subject. He concluded that virtue is in itself knowledge that must be thought. However, a challenge presents itself in the sense that something like virtue is too unique to have teachers. If at all virtue can be acquired from knowledge, then there must be the presence of teachers. Meno discerns that virtue can be taught but occurs in different sets of different people (Sedley, David, 10). There are many kinds of virtues that can be taught and some that require the eminent wisdom of an individual to come into play. Socrates challenges Meno by saying that knowledge is the ability to account for something. When something cannot be justified, knowledge is not considered a factor in the hypothesis. Virtue cannot be justified. The conclusion remained that virtue cannot be taught. From the conclusion, it can be inferred that since virtues cannot be taught, they rely on the wisdom of a person for their execution. Wisdom, as Meno noted, is something that is not acquired through teachers, but rather God-given. Consequentially, one can decipher what virtue is from the natural wisdom they possess. Virtue is showing good judgment in the distinction between good and evil. The good judgment can be naturally acquired from the wisdom that an individual possesses. Wisdom, therefore, serves the role of judgment for what true virtue truly is. Wisdom and virtue are intertwined because they are both things that cannot be taught. From the argument that Meno has with Socrates, the conclusion is that wisdom is paramount for the application of virtues.

Phaedo followed the teachings of his friend Socrates. He reveals his conception of wisdom and virtue through the account he gives of the death of Socrates. In his sentiments, Phaedo expressed the fact that wisdom is acquired through intellect. In that sense, there cannot be wisdom without knowledge. Even if some may come naturally, wisdom has to be fed with the constant knowledge for it to experience admirable growth. Echoing the words of his teacher, Phaedo agrees that virtue is a sense of truth that cannot be deciphered by a person’s senses (Plato, 105). It requires some form of profound truth and wisdom whichneeds knowledge for its existence. Wisdom serves as a way in which the truth can be acquired. The truth comes from a process of thought that helps an individual to think on what lies beyond his or her actions. Wisdom, according to Phaedo, is inclusive of the mind only. In that sense, it provides the thought process that helps an individual to know when virtue should be applied. He differed a little from what Meno perceived wisdom to entail. Meno did not separate wisdom from any outside influence. The outside influence, according to him, helped in the execution of virtues. However, Phaedo tends to think that wisdom is entirely dependent on the mind, which is the main tool for the acquisition of knowledge. Virtue, therefore, comes in as something that needs the knowledge provided through wisdom for it to function. Wisdom serves as the catalyst for the good judgment of what true virtue is. In addition, wisdom will help an individual to separate virtue from other needs such as those of the bodies. Many people may not be in full understanding of what virtue is. Wisdom, according to Phaedo, sheds light to that understanding.

                                                    Works cited

Plato, .Five Great Dialogues of Plato. Claremont, CA: Coyote Canyon Press, 2009. Print.

“Ancient Theories of Soul.”Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 23 Oct. 2003. Web.

Sedley, David. Plato: Meno and Phaedo.Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.