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Interest and Life
• Interest: Ethics
• Emphasis: Argument and Logic, as opposed
to unquestioning acceptance of tradition.
• Death: charge of ‘impiety’ (introducing new
gods and corrupting the youth)
• Elenchus: Refutation
• Topic: the nature of some moral virtue (areté),
such as courage, piety, self-control or justice.
• Aims: Testing ideas for logical consistency;
proving that politicians and others who have
claimed to have ‘wisdom’ about human affairs in
fact lacked it; drawing attention to at least
apparent errors in their thinking.
• End: the respondent suffers a personal set-back; he
is refuted – revealed as incompetent.
• Socrates never explicitly stated his view.
• Virtues are essential for a happy life.
• They belong to the soul: they are the condition of
a soul that has been properly cared for and brought
to its best rate.
• Virtues are a sort of knowledge (Ethical
Intellectualism); they, therefore, can be taught. Just
as the doctor is a person who has learnt medicine, so the
just person is the one who has learnt what is just.
• ‘Weakness of will’ is denied.