Friday, June 05, 2009


Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and also, according to some people, Socrates' 2477th birthday. I was 14 when I first read (in English) a Socratic dialogue, the Meno, and it made a huge impact on me. I was amazed by the clarity of the argument and decided to "do" Greek for O Level and then went on to read Classics at Cambridge, which I enjoyed enormously.

The Meno discusses whether virtue can be taught. Meno becomes very confused by Socrates' argument which professes that man could neither search for what he does know, because he would already know it, nor for what he does not know, because he would not know for what he was looking. Socrates goes on to prove his argument by getting one of Meno's slaves to do a geometrical calculation which the slave was unaware he could solve. Socrates thereby points to a link between knowledge and eternal truths.


Blogger kinglear said...

I am always in awe of people who did Greek. I am almost certainly the original of " Its all Greek to me"
Now the maths on the other hand.....

12:15 pm  
Blogger Swearing Mother said...

A bit like the statement "you don't know what you don't know, because you don't know what you don't know" kind of thing?


11:14 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Greek's easier than Latin, KL - you should give it a try!

That's it, SM!

7:35 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I tried to teach myself Greek once and enjoyed it but I've forgotten it now. I wish I had done it at school. Socrates made a big impact on me when I was about 16.

10:33 pm  

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