I will briefly look at the Laches and Meno. In the Laches dialogue, Socrates and two generals Nicias and Laches try to
define courage. They try to find a general definition of courage. Just like the
Euthyphro, in the end, they, too,
fail and Socrates tells them they should all go back to school. Something
similar happens in the Meno as well.
The discussant could not reach a general definition or a model for virtue. This
is a common theme in Plato’s dialogues. The dialogues end with the discussants
being unable to reach a definition, but still Socrates shows them that they
have some major gaps in their knowledge. He shows them that they don’t really,
they don’t really know as good as they think they do. This is another crucial
role of the philosopher.
will now talk about Plato’s three allegories. Socrates is unable to talk about
the form of the good directly, so he gives us three analogies to make things
easier. The allegory of the sun is the first one. Sun is what Socrates calls
the child and the offspring of the good. Sun enables vision. Without sun light,
we would not be able to see the world around us and would be forced to live in
total darkness. It enables better interact with the world. As the sun
illuminates the world, it also reveals itself in the process. So, we can
perceive it as well. Sun is also the source of existence and life in our world.
It creates the seasons; in the winter living things die without its light and
in the spring, life blossom like a flower. The good is like the sun. it enables
“vision” or knowledge and save us from “darkness”. it makes
the interaction between the knower and the known possible, it helps us to reach
the truth about the know. In the process, it also reveals itself like the sun.
This allows us to “perceive” it; it becomes a knowable thing, a form.
Also like the sun, the good, too, is the source of existence. It brings both
the knower and the known into being. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to know
the source or the nature of neither the known’s nor the knower’s. It is the
source of both truth and existence, but the good itself is beyond them. This
analogy makes it easier to talk about the form of the good. This analogy will
bring a secondary meaning to the third allegory which is the cave allegory.