I am trying to read The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution by Howard Gardner. The title of chapter 1 is "Introduction: What the Meno Wrought". I don't understand what the chapter title means. The chapter also has, as an epigram, this quotation from Plato's dialogue, the Meno, that I don't understand:

One thing I would fight for to the end, both in word and deed if I were able—that if we believed that we must try to find out what is not known, we should be better and braver and less idle than if we believed that what we do not know it is impossible to find out and that we need not even try.

Could you explain these sentences a little for me, please?

2 Answers 2


It isn't obvious unless you consult a dictionary, but Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) reports that wrought is a form of the verb work:

wrought past and past part[iciple] of WORK

So discussing what Plato's Meno wrought amounts to discussing the effects that this dialogue worked (or had) on subsequent philosophy and ideas about the human mind and spirit.

In the included quotation from Meno, the character Socrates asserts that philosophers and others must maintain a spirit of inquiry (what Aristotle later describes as the "desire to know"), and he implies that accepting as a fundamental reality of human existence that we can never know anything with certainty leads to an impoverished, fearful, and idle intellectual life.


"The Meno" is the title of a dialogue written by Plato, (with, as you have discovered, Socrates as one of the interlocutors), which is an important foundation of epistemology, the study of how we gain knowledge; how it reached that position, or "what it wrought", is itself an interesting study.

The sentence you quote has no difficult words and no trick constructions (unless you count 'what we do not know' as a noun phrase); puzzling out the meaning may be hard, but is not something anyone else can do for you, particularly if you wish to study thinking.

  • Ok. But i couldn't understand/find what the meaning of "wrought" is. could you tell me synonym of "wrought"?
    – verdery
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 18:04
  • @verdery - Have you ever seen "wrought iron"? It's iron heated and then hammered into a given form. Figuratively, "wrought" means "formed" or "fashioned", often with substantial effort.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.