Plato's Theory Of Knowledge In The Meno, The Final Argument

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In the Meno and in the Phaedo, Socrates claims that the human soul exists before birth. In the Meno, Socrates makes this claim by claiming that learning is not the discovery of something new, but a recollection of something already known by the soul before we were born, but have only forgotten. Socrates’ claim that knowledge is recollection does not apply to all kinds of knowledge, only to the knowledge of abstract, unchanging entities (i.e., mathematics) that are not subject to the vagaries and mistakes of everyday life. To illustrate his theory, Socrates asks one of Meno’s slave boys to draw a square with sides of two feet, and to calculate how long the side of a square would be if it had twice the area of the one the boy drew. Socrates, …show more content…
One day, he stumbled across the writings of Anaxagoras and his theory of mind. Socrates drew from these readings, an entity called “mind” that would arrange things in the way that was best for that particular thing and you could then explain the cause of that thing by describing how it was best for that thing to be the way it was. Intrigued by this, Socrates read further, but soon found that Anaxagoras didn’t take this line of reasoning at all. Thus, Socrates develops a premise that there is such a thing as the Beautiful, Just, Small, Big, etc., and also that there is an ideal form of these things and others like it. Socrates claims that he can finally explain the ultimate cause of things now. Something would be just because it connects in some way to the ideal of Justice and something beautiful because it touches on the ideal beautiful. Therefore, things only bear characteristics because they connect to the ideal forms these characteristics represent. Furthermore, these forms can never admit their opposites. However, this doesn’t mean that something that is tall can’t become short, or the other way around, but that tallness can never become shortness. For if something tall is to become short, the tallness of that thing must either retreat or be

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