Essay on Plato 's Doctrine Of Recollection

1585 Words Sep 26th, 2016 7 Pages
Plato’s Doctrine of Recollection is a theory of “learning” which aims to solve the issue of how one may learn something when one does not know what the thing is. Despite successfully and adequately addressing the paradox proposed by Meno, the Doctrine of Recollection fails to adequately address issues of its own circularity (as proposed by Edward Fraser) and also fails to address the issue of the regress problem.
Perhaps one of the clearest instances where we learn of the Doctrine of Recollection occurs in Plato’s Meno. Meno, the interlocutor opposite Socrates, asks Socrates the question: “…how are you going to inquire about it, Socrates, when you do not at all know what it is?” (80d). The issue this question proposes is that it suggests that we could not truly learn anything, since we could never know what to learn, how to learn it, or if we had come across it on accident.
This question prompts Socrates to explain the Doctrine of Recollection. To accomplish this, Socrates suggests the idea that the soul is immortal. Since the soul is immortal, Socrates claims, it “has been born many times, and has seen both the things here and the ones in Hades— in fact, all things— there is nothing it has not learned” (81c). It is this idea that the soul knows all things, which allows the human to recollect the knowledge which resides in the soul. Socrates argues that since “all nature is akin” nothing prevents someone from recollecting one thing or all things, “provided he is courageous…

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