Plato's Meno

Plato's Meno

In the small world of the Meno, one of the early Platonic Dialogues, often crit­icized for being ambiguous or inconclu­sive, or for being a lame and needless concession to popular morals, two dis­tinguished philosophers find a perspec­tive on much of twentieth-century phi­losophy. According to Sternfeld and Zyskind, the key to the Meno's appeal is in its philosophy of man as acquisitive?in the dialogue's notion of thought and action as a process of acquiring. The means of acquiring values and cogni­tions provides the context in which the mind has most direct contact with them, which grounds common sense generally and ties the dialogue techni­cally to the emphasis on the im­mediacies of the mind?language, ex­perience, and process?in much of re­cent philosophy. Sternfeld and Zyskind proffer Plato's 2,000-year-old philosophy as valid still in competition with other, and more modern, modes of thought, and suggest the need for a major turn in philosophy which can take us beyond its minimal philosophy without distorting the basic values on which the Meno shows man's world to rest, however, precariously, even today.


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