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Theory of Recollection

Theory of Recollection - Jeffrey A Goodhart Socrates theory...

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Jeffrey A. Goodhart 2/5/08 Socrates’ theory of recollection begins in response to Meno’s paradox of inquiry. Socrates states that inquiry cannot lead to new knowledge because one already knows all that he or she can know. According to Socrates, the soul is immortal and retains all prior knowledge for eternity. So when a soul is reborn into a man, he already possesses all the knowledge he can ever have. Socrates convinces Meno of this idea by questioning a slave boy. The boy, who had no prior teaching on the subject, answered all of Socrates’ questions about geometry. According to Socrates, the boy did not learn anything. He merely used his power of recollection to attain his soul’s prior knowledge of geometry. The boy must have acquired this information when he was not a man since no one had taught him these things. The way the boy recovered this information was through Socrates’ questions. Meno agrees with Socrates that knowledge is recollected instead of learned. Although Socrates told Meno that inquiry cannot lead to new knowledge, he still
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