Lists in the Meno and the Euthyphro
In Plato’s Socratic dialogues the Meno and the Euthyphro, all attempts at answering Socrates’ “What is the F?” question are rejected, but some answers are rejected in a peculiar way. Socrates complains that Euthyphro’s first answer, and Meno’s first and third answers, provide “too many” things for the F. This thesis considers several competing suggestions for why Socrates rejects these answers. The following suggestions are argued to be unhelpful: (1) that Socrates’ interlocutors provide particulars instead of universals, (2) that Socrates makes an assumption that examples cannot be known before you know the definition, and (3) that the interlocutors offer too narrow definitions. None of these explains why Socrates says that there are too many things provided. Finally, the author argues that the answers are rejected because Socrates assumes there is only one explanation for why F things are F.