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Plato on tradition and belief. Essay

1. Socrates gets Laches to agree to a new definition of courage by arguing that not all cases of courage are a sort of endurance. He asks Laches if he would consider courage to be noble to which Laches replies he would. Socrates then asks him would he consider foolish endurance to be seen as hurtful,to which Laches also agrees. With this in mind Laches agrees to a new definition of courage to include only wise endurance. 2/5 2.

They conclude that knowledge of a virtue such as courage isn’t seen as being normal in the way that it is,but being the kind of thing that is known consciously and spoken. Somebody who can talk about the subject of courage but don’t do well in battle,would have no real insight into what most people would consider courage. 0/5 3. Socrates argues for this conclusion by saying there could be some objection to the claim that courage is both foolish and wise. Firstly,wise courage gives you the belief that you are doing the right thing,but don’t have to,but by believing you have wise courage,it is the best thing to stay and fight.

However,knowing you havn’t the resources for battle,but are considered brave enough to stay and fight anyway,surely this can be seen as both foolish and wise courage. 2/5 4. Socrates asks Laches if he knows the nature of virtue and would they tell others of it. Laches agrees to both questions allowing Socrates to test Laches own knowledge of virtue. He asks him about the part of virtue that is relevant to the art of fighting in armour – courage. Socrates then asks Laches to take into account the actions of the Sythian cavalry who fought bravely whilst running away.

These examples are of a courageous nature but do not fit Laches example of courage. Socrates then asks Laches about the nature of courage of the soldiers who man there posts,but adds also about the courage of people in general,wether in battle,politics. poverty or fear. He reinforces his argument by using the example of “quickness which may be found in running, speaking or playing the lyre. In this case Socrates states that the definition as the quality that does a lot in very little time.

Laches has to come up with an idea of courage that takes into account all ideas in which a person might be courageous. One objection that might be made to one of Socrates arguments is that it may only seem like he wants to impress upon Laches that it is possible to have any sort of knowledge of courage at all because Socrates says that the only genuine piece of knowledge he can have is that he knows nothing in the first place.

But,as there isn’t anybody that knows enough about courage to speak of it,maybe we should take into account Laches continuing courageous behaviour as a kind of knowledge,rather than it being known concsiously and spoken,courage may be the only thing to be considered as an example. Someone who speaks for hours about courage but is cowardly during battle,would have little knowledge of courage. This example is about spoken knowledge and is amplified again by Socrates when he asks Laches to try and embody the very courage and endurance he is looking for in his quest. 18/35.


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