I think it would be fun to have a little online symposium on a question of philosophical interest. Here’s how it will work: I will ask a question of you and (if you can spare a little time to think and respond), we can consider the question and answers together. Don’t feel you have to respond just to me and my question, but feel free to respond directly to the other respondents too.
My question is based on a quotation from the Gorgias. Socrates has just pressed a conclusion upon a young character named Polus that it would be preferable to suffer injustice rather than commit it. Having defended the argument in favor of this proposition, Socrates urges his interlocutor to:
“Nobly present yourself to the argument as though to a physician..” (Arieti/Barrus translation, 475d)
I interpret that presenting one’s person to argument entails submission to or deciding for any conclusion agreed to by oneself — in order that one can be healed of any false opinions that may contradict the truth of the argument. Such submission/decision is particularly difficult if the contradictory opinions are still held in high regard. Such submission can be as onerous as submitting to a surgeon’s scalpel.
My question is this (assuming that what one has discovered about virtue through argument is true):
Is deciding to act virtuously necessary to have knowledge of virtue?
Please answer in the comments. I will gather your answers up and take the matter up again in a week to discuss them with you.
After reading the comments, you should skip ahead to Follow up to Symposium Question.