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Themes and Colors
Teaching, Learning, and Intellectual Inquiry Theme Icon
Language, Rhetoric, and Reasoning Theme Icon
Virtue, Ignorance, and Knowledge Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Meno, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Teaching, Learning, and Intellectual Inquiry

In Plato’s Meno, Socrates and Meno—a Thessalian politician visiting Athens—speak at length about the process of learning, specifically unpacking whether or not virtue can be taught. Although Socrates remains skeptical that they will be able to answer this question without first finding a definition for virtue itself, he nevertheless says he’d like to engage in a dialogue with Meno in order to explore the matter. In doing so, he demonstrates his commitment to…

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Language, Rhetoric, and Reasoning

In Meno, Socrates is interested in simply exploring ideas alongside his interlocutor (the person he is in dialogue with). Whereas in Apology he tries to persuade the Athenian jury not to condemn him, in this dialogue he focuses on investigating the claims that both Meno and he himself make. Interestingly enough, though, he makes use of the same process of conversational cross-examination that he employs in Plato’s other dialogues, ultimately using this method to…

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Virtue, Ignorance, and Knowledge

Virtue is the central concern of Socrates’s dialogue with Meno, as each man struggles to find productive ways to talk about this elusive concept. Despite the fact that they often come close to clarifying the nature of virtue, though, their understanding of it always erodes before they’re able to determine what it actually is. In an attempt to better understand this difficult idea, Socrates briefly conceives of virtue as “knowledge,” which then leads…

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