Analyzing Socrates Argument In Plato's Meno

1060 Words5 Pages
The world we live in is filled with crime, evil, and injustice, but do people have the desire to do bad things knowing that they are bad, or do they do them thinking that they are good? In this essay, I examine Socrates argument, found in Plato’s Meno, that no one knowingly desires bad things. If Socrates were right, it would mean that it is impossible for someone to perform a bad action based on their desire for that bad thing. Instead, all bad desires result from the ignorance of the person performing the action in falsely believing that the action is good. Though Socrates presents a compelling argument, I argue that it is possible for someone to act badly, all the while knowing that what they desire is bad. In order to establish my thesis, I will start by stating and explaining the argument that Socrates presents, I will…show more content…
In Plato’s Meno, Socrates comes to the conclusion of his argument through the following five steps: To desire is to obtain something for oneself (M 77c). The possession of bad things causes self-harm (M 77e). Those who are harmed are miserable (M 78). To be miserable is to be unhappy (M 78). No one desires to be miserable and unhappy (M 78). Conclusion: No one knowingly desires bad things (M 78). In premise one, Socrates could be talking about two different kinds of desires: first order desires and second order desires. First order desires consist of a desire for something specific. For example, you could desire to eat healthy. Second order desires consist of desires about your state of desire. In this case, it is not the healthy food itself that you
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