The Web and the problem of the examined life

The best human life, thus conceived, [a life spent in the search for the moral truth] will hold no appeal for the wicked, the stupid, the intellectually lazy or the arrogant. The wicked actually savor their odious ideas; the stupid are unable to test their opinions: the intellectually lazy prefer to be guided by the authority of others; the arrogant are too certain of their wisdom to question it. Socrates’ divine mission is to convert those susceptible of conversion to a life of moral inquiry to turn away from their evil or complacent ways those who are capable of being turned away. Despite  Socrates’ dutiful efforts undertaken at the god’s command, however, the interlocutors he encounters in Plato’s elenctic dialogues prove to be intransigent: if they come to the exchange wicked, stupid, lazy, or arrogant, so they leave it.

—Roslyn Weiss

(Virtue in the Cave: Moral inquiry in Plato’s Meno (Oxford University Press 2001) p. 6)

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