Plato And Descartes And Plato's Theory Of Sensory Experience

1021 Words 5 Pages
Both Plato and Descartes believe that knowledge cannot be gained through sensory experience. Descartes states that the senses may be deceived therefore he must reach knowledge through reasoning. Plato believes that one already has knowledge because the Soul knows the Forms. He thinks that since the Soul holds all knowledge then one must recollect upon the question and the answer will be remembered. Plato uses a slave to prove his “Theory of Recollection”, and, by proxy, his theory of the Forms and the Soul. This, in fact, doesn’t work for he uses his theory of the “all-knowing Soul” to prove that the slave is remembering already learned facts through the “Theory of Recollection” while using the slave to prove his theory of an “all-knowing Soul”. …show more content…
The senses may be deceived so, logically, all things one knows through the senses must be called into doubt. He uses wax to prove that the sensory experience is not knowledge. He takes a block of wax and takes in its characteristics like what it feels, looks, and smells like. Then he puts it near a fire and watches as the wax melts. He then compares the previous characteristics with the new ones. As completely separate objects they share no similarities but Descartes notes that he knows it is the same wax. Therefore, our senses cannot be trusted for they said the same wax was different wax, so Descartes must now doubt all his senses tell him. Descartes goes even further and says that if there is even one reason to doubt something, then he will doubt its certainty. Descartes, through the Method of Doubt, is …show more content…
The “all-knowing Soul” knows the Forms and always will. The Forms themselves are unchanging therefore, they must be true knowledge. Anything less than a Form or concept is only an opinion and subject to change like any sensory experience. This led to the question of finding knowledge. This is where “Meno’s Paradox” comes in, Plato encountered this while trying to define Virtue. When that was unsuccessful he then figured if Virtue was even ‘knowable’ and how one would find it, how does one start looking for something when he doesn’t know what he is truly looking for? If one already knows it, then there is no reason to look for it; but then if one doesn’t know what one is looking for, how will one know they have truly found it. To answer these questions, Plato created the “Theory of Recollection”. To learn what one’s “all-knowing Soul” knows, one must, through careful questions, remember. Plato proves this through the questioning of a slave, who would never normally encounter “complex” math, about a triangle and the relationships of the sides to one another. Originally the slave doesn’t know the answer to the question, he doesn’t remember it, but through careful questioning the slave comes up with the correct answer. Thus, it appears as though he has remembered it. Plato sees this as proof of his theory of an “all-knowing Soul” and the “Theory of

Related Documents