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1 A Puzzle about Definitions Socrates has told us he knows how to reject faulty definitions But how does he know when he has succeeded in finding the right definition Meno raises an objection to the entire definitional search in the form of what has been called Menos Paradox or The Paradox of Inquiry Meno 80d-e 2 An Objection to Inquiry 1 The argument reformulated 1 If you know what youre looking for inquiry is unnecessary 2 If you dont know what youre looking for inquiry is impossible 3 Therefore inquiry is either unnecessary or impossible 2 An implicit premise Either you know what youre looking for or you dont know what youre looking for And this is a logical truth Or is it Only if you know what youre looking for is used unambiguously in both disjuncts 3 Evaluating the Argument There seems to be an equivocation in you know what youre looking for 1 You know the question you wish to answer 2 You know the answer to that question Using sense A 2 is true but 1 is false using sense B 1 is true but 2 is false But there is no one sense in which both premises are true And from the pair of true premises 1B and 2A nothing follows because of the equivocation To see the ambiguity consider the question Is it possible for you to know what you dont know In one sense the answer is no You cant both know and not know the same thing Pace Heraclitus In another sense the answer is yes You can know the questions you dont have the answers to 4 How Inquiry is Possible So this is how inquiry is possible You know what question you want to answer and to which you dont yet know the answer you follow some appropriate procedure for answering questions of that
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