Socrates ' Argument For Theory Of Knowledge Essay

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In the section of the Phaedo we read, Socrates argues that one has knowledge of the form absolute equality prior to birth, and that learning is a “recovering of knowledge which is natural to us” (40). Socrates’ argument for theory of recollection and that one cannot acquire knowledge of absolute equality through empirical means does succeed despite some minor issues with it. Socrates first proves that there is no example of absolute equality in one’s own experience. To do this Socrates and his interlocutors first have to accept that absolute equality, the standard by which all other ‘equal’ objects can be measured, does exist and is known. The question then arises as to whether there is an example of this absolute equality in observation or it is from observations of lesser equalities that one can “conceive from them the idea of an equality that is different from them” (39). Upon further discussion with Simmias, Socrates concludes that it is the latter because sticks that appear equal to one man may appear unequal in some fashion to another and yet one is still reminded of the concept of absolute equality. He says, “We must have known equality previously to the time when we first saw the material equals, and reflected that they all strive to attain absolute equality, but fall short of it” (39). Once Socrates has proven that there is no example of absolute equality in experience, the slight problem of the source of the initial knowledge of absolute equality arises. Since…

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