Will Meno tell him his own notion, which is probably not very different from that of Gorgias?
Socrates reminds Meno that this is only an enumeration of the virtues and not a definition of the notion which is common to them all.
Now that Meno has been made to understand the nature of a general definition, he answers in the spirit of a Greek gentleman, and in the words of a poet, 'that virtue is to delight in things honourable, and to have the power of getting them.
But how, asks Meno, can he enquire either into what he knows or into what he does not know?
He is asked 'whether Meno shall go to the Sophists and be taught.
But there is another point which we failed to observe, and in which Gorgias has never instructed Meno, nor Prodicus Socrates.
The teaching of the Sophists is confessedly inadequate, and Meno, who is their pupil, is ignorant of the very nature of general terms.
Some lesser points of the dialogue may be noted, such as (1) the acute observation that Meno prefers the familiar definition, which is embellished with poetical language, to the better and truer one; or (2) the shrewd reflection, which may admit of an application to modern as well as to ancient teachers, that the Sophists having made large fortunes; this must surely be a criterion of their powers of teaching, for that no man could get a living by shoemaking who was not a good shoemaker; or (3) the remark conveyed, almost in a word, that the verbal sceptic is saved the labour of thought and enquiry (ouden dei to toiouto zeteseos).
The character of Meno, like that of Critias, has no relation to the actual circumstances of his life.
Or he may have been regardless of the historical truth of the characters of his dialogue, as in the case of Meno and Critias.
And when he was gone, she almost quarrelled with meNo
, I should not say quarrelled, for we never had a quarrel in our lives; but she was quite distressed that I had owned the apples were so nearly gone; she wished I had made him believe we had a great many left.