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Part 1-Argument
There are four major philosophical conclusions that Socrates argues for in different parts of the Meno. They are:
1.) Virtue is divinely inspired or a gift from the gods or God
2.) We can only learn through recollection
3.) People always desire good
4.) We cannot know a concept by pointing out its particular manifestations (in the
dialogue Socrates says we cannot know virtue itself just by knowing what the virtues are, but I would like you to discuss it more generally)
Pick one of these conclusions and reconstruct the argument Socrates gives for it in the text. Socrates’ arguments often have a step-by-step nature, where each reason builds on the last so be sure to capture this linear chain of reasoning rather than just listing the reasons. Also, in case it is not obvious, you only need to reference the sections of the text which argue for the conclusion you choose. The assignment is not asking you to summarize the text but to extract a particular argument from the text and reconstruct it as clearly as possible (ideally more clearly than Socrates).
Part 2-Objection
Articulate one objection to the argument. Make sure to justify your objection, not just state it. A good way to be sure you are doing this is to imagine you are in a discussion with someone who just made the argument from part 1 and now you have to say something to convince them why their argument is wrong. It is important here to explain what is wrong with the argument itself, not just the conclusion. Also, make sure to explain what aspect of the argument you are objecting to; are you objecting to a particular step in the reasoning process, more than one step, or the rationale behind the entire process?
Part 3-Reflection
First, say whether you agree with the argument or the objection and why. Second, explain how the argument you discussed could provide one with a new perspective on something in “real life;” this could include something in your personal life, a social issue, or anything that seems relevant to you. What is important is that you first state how the situation was perceived before looking at it through the lens of this argument and then state how one could perceive the situation differently after learning this argument.
Part 4-Analyzing Socrates’ Assumptions
The intention of the first three parts is to understand, analyze, and apply Socrate’s way of thinking. However, it is also important to question his basic assumptions. We mentioned in class that Socrates is committed to moral absolutism, the idea that there is one truth about virtue and morality more generally, regardless of personal upbringing or culture. Moral absolutism would claim that certain people and even entire cultures can be wrong about what this one moral truth is. For example, if we lived in a community where everyone was ok with racism, a moral absolutist would be able to say they are simply all wrong about morality. In other words, moral absolutism claims that there is a truth to morality regardless of whether people follow it or not.
Do you agree with moral absolutism, why or why not? If you disagree, what do you think about the status of virtue and morality; is it determined by the culture, by the individual, or is there some other explanation? Either way, be sure to give an argument for your point of view.

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