Virtue Essay, Research Paper

Paper 1


During Dr. Martin Luther King s life, he tried to introduce virtues not only to African Americans, but to Caucasians too. Even though back then racism was very dramatic time period, we still see racism today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed that how being virtuous can help solve problems of racism. Socrates believes that, be inborn quality nor taught, but comes to those who possess it as a gift from the gods which is not accompanied by understanding, unless there is someone among our statesmen who can make another into a statesmen. If this is true, then Dr. King was not a teacher of virtue.

In the Meno, by Plato, Meno begins by asking, Can you tell me, Socrates, can virtue be taught? Socrates believes that you must first define virtue before you can teach it. Meno thinks that justice is a virtue. Socrates retorts by saying, Is it virtue, Meno, or a virtue? Finally both Socrates and Meno draw a conclusion that there is no one term to define virtue. In that virtue is not connected to one single thing. There are many other virtues other than justice. Temperance, courage, equality, and so on, are all considered virtues of some sort.

Later Socrates searches the answer, what virtue is? Meno asks, How will you look for it, Socrates, when you do not know at all what it is? Socrates explains to Meno that they will find the answer through recollection. Learning is really a method of recollection in which the soul comes to remember what it already knew before its current human life span. We see this when Socrates states, As the soul is immortal, has been born often and has seen all things here and in the underworld, there is nothing which it has not learned; so it is in no way surprising that it can recollect the things it knew before, both about virtue and other things. Socrates believes that if there are no teachers or learners of virtue, then it cannot be taught. Socrates and Meno ask Anytus to help look for virtuous men. Anytus comes up with some men who are virtuous and Socrates begins to show how those men are not. After Socrates search, he explains that virtue is to those who possess it as a gift from the gods. Socrates and Meno have decided that there are no teachers of virtue, but they do still believe people who carry virtues within them and for one to teach virtue they must have all the virtues.

For African Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to teach courage to them. He taught them to have the courage to stand up for their own rights, and taught them to do it in a peaceful manner to protect the rights. He not only tried to teach to African Americans, but he also tried to teach Caucasians about justice and equality. He taught them that it is wrong to treat someone different based on their skin color. He wanted everyone to be treated the same. Even though Dr. Martin Luther King wasn t a virtuous man, he tried to live his life with the virtues he spoke about. Dr. Martin Luther King lived his life to help society break through racism, and he did this by carrying many virtues such as courage, equality, and justice.

I do Socrates in believing that you can t be taught to be a virtuous person. But I do believe that you can be taught of some strengths of virtue. Also, I feel that parents play a major role in their child s up bringing. Parents can teach them of being respectful, justice, and know what right from wrong is. Not only do parents play a role of a child s up brining but the society that the child live in has a role. We still see today of racism, but there are other places that lack some virtues more than others.

Incompliance with Socrates, one cannot teach something that they do not fully know. Socrates is not a virtuous man, but he does carry some virtues with him, consequently he cannot teach anyone to be virtuous. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. carried many virtues with him during his day that he could teach, and even still to this day. But he cannot teach another person because he is not a virtuous person.

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