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California Classical Association


I want to begin my presentation of Aristotle's views with a brief look at his predecessor and mentor, Plato. You probably remember the answer that Plato gave to the question "Can virtue be taught?" in the Meno. There, in response to Meno's skepticism about the possibility of discovering the nature of virtue (a skepticism induced by Socrates' refutation of his various attempts to define virtue), Plato had Socrates present his famous theory that learning is recollection. It is possible to teach virtue, Plato suggests, because people already have an innate knowledge of the nature of virtue, knowledge that has been acquired during the previous existence of the soul, prior to its present embodiment, and that can be brought to consciousness by means of skillful questioning.



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