Plato’s Meno is the dialogue which more than any other occupies a transitional position between the early Socratic dialogues and the developed middle period theory of the Phaedo, Symposium and Republic. It is thus of particular interest for the insights that it gives us into the process by which Plato arrived at that theory. The issues which it raises are philosophically interesting in themselves: how can we know that we have the right answer to a question, unless we knew what the answer was before we asked the question in the first place? Is excellence (aretē) something that we can acquire by being taught, or is it something that we are born with? And the dialogue is of historical interest for the evidence it provides, both for ancient Greek notions of what constitutes excellence, and for contemporary attitudes to the Sophists, who claimed to teach excellence and took larger fees for doing so. First published in 1985, this edition was revised in 1991, and the preface and bibliography updated in 2004. Greek text with facing-page English translation, introduction, notes and commentary.
Parallel-text edition of Plato’s Meno. Greek text, with facing-page English translation, introduction, notes and commentary.
†R.W. Sharples was Professor of Classics at University College London. He published widely on ancient philosophy, especially the Aristotelian tradition (Theophrastus, Alexander of Aphrodisias). His books include Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (Routledge, 1996), Nemesius: On Fate (Liverpool University Press, 2008), and he has translated Cicero: On Fate with Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy IV.5–7, V and Plato: Meno for the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series.