Theory of recollection

Nonetheless, we would never be tempted to suggest that Equality itself is unequal.

Anamnesis (philosophy)

That is perfectly true Phaedo 74a-c. So although the Theory of Recollection may solve some problems, it leaves the fundamental problem without a clear solution. Socrates jokes that Meno must be from a place where wisdom abounds because in Athens where the conversation takes place no one knows what virtue is, let alone how it is acquired.

Now if we had acquired that knowledge before we were born, and were born with it, we knew before we were born and at the moment of birth not only the equal and the greater and the less, but all thing such as these? Knowledge, he says, is innate, and what we call learning is really the recollection of facts once known but forgotten.

The idea of psychic memory was used by Neoplatonists to demonstrate the celestial and immaterial origins of the soul, and to explain how memories of the world-soul could be recalled by everyday human beings.

Despite this, in Neoplatonismthe theory of anamnesis became part of the mythology of the descent of the soul. The process of incarnation is described in Neoplatonism as a trauma that causes the soul to forget its experiences and often its divine origins as well.

Further, it should not be assumed automatically that Plato himself thinks that these theories are true. Meno is surprised that Socrates did not learn what virtue is from Gorgias when he visited Athens. We shall say that there is most decidedly Socrates. Socrates begins by pointing out that we can be reminded of one thing by being made conscious of another thing.

This is why Socrates claims that all learning is recollection.

The Theory of Recollection

Next, Socrates presents an alternative explanation of the same thing. We know this Form of Equality, because it comes into our minds every time we see instances of equal objects.

Then it appears that we must have acquired it before we were born. Therefore, the sticks or stones that are equal cannot be the same thing as Equality, since they can sometimes be unequal, and Equality itself never can be.

Platonic epistemology

The ascent of the mind to celestial and trans-celestial realms is likened to a charioteer and a chariot drawn by two winged horses, one dark and one white. Bearing in mind that the soul has to be re-born after it dies, Simmias and Cebes are forced to acknowledge that it must continue to exist after death.

For example, we are able to perceive that two sticks are equal in length but unequal in width only because we have an innate understanding of the Form of Equality. Since life and death are opposites, we can Theory of recollection analogously that, just as the living become dead, so the dead must become living.

Shall we say there is such a thing, or not? The Theory of Recollection suggests the beginning of a way to make sense of the method Socrates pursues in the early dialogues. Socrates provides four arguments for believing the soul is immortal.

They were more objects of experience, of inner knowledge or insightthan of recollection. The elaboration of the concept almost appears to be a consequence of Plato himself re-reading the Meno in search of inspiration. It begins when Socrates seeks the true definition of virtue, and Meno wonders whether or not it is a trait that can be taught.The second argument, known as the Theory of Recollection, asserts that learning is essentially an act of recollecting things we knew before we were born but then forgot.

True knowledge, argues Socrates, is knowledge of the eternal and unchanging Forms that underlie perceptible reality. Socrates‟ theory of Recollection is a byproduct of the Socratic Paradox of Inquiry, which is based on the following syllogism: If one knows, inquiry of the known is unnecessary, If one does not know, inquiry of the unknown is impossible, Therefore, inquiry is either unnecessary or impossible.

Theory of Recollection

The second aspect of recollection is one that does involve the lapse of time and is more familiar to the theory of recollection in the Meno. Additionally, it relates to Socrates’ goal of establishing the immortality of the soul. This disproves the recollection theory because if the soul can not learn, it also can not have the ability to recollect what it does know.

A question that arises in my mind is when comparing the disavowal of knowledge and the theory or recollection. According to Socrates, the theory of recollection is that all knowledge is known from previous experience.

His belief is that we already know everything and have known it since we were born, we simply recall these facts from memory when we re-learn them. Platonic doctrine of recollection The Platonic doctrine of recollection or anamnesis, is the idea that we are born possessing all knowledge and our realization of that knowledge is contingent on our discovery of it.

Theory of recollection
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