Daniel anderson is professor of philosophy at ohio wesleyan university he has also taught at tulane and at washington and jefferson college the current president of the ohio philosophical association, he has published previously in the journal of symbolic logic, the journal of the history of. The theory of recollection is laid out in more detail in plato's meno, and the discussion in the phaedo alludes to, and seems to assume prior knowledge of, this earlier discussion the phaedo and the meno are consistent, though, and the presentation of the theory in each dialogue can stand on its own.
As the earliest philosopher from whom we have written texts, plato is often misrepresented as merely reproducing socratic rhetoric in meno, one of the first platonic dialogues, plato offers his own unique philosophical theory, infused with his mentor’s brilliant sophistry.
Meno's 2nd definition of virtue: virtue is the ability to rule menthis may strike a modern reader as rather odd, but the thinking behind it is probably something like this: virtue is what makes possible the fulfillment of one's purpose. Meno's theme is also dealt with in the dialogue protagoras, where plato ultimately has socrates arrive at the opposite conclusion, that virtue can be taught and, whereas in protagoras knowledge is uncompromisingly this-worldly, in meno the theory of recollection points to a link between knowledge and eternal truths. Plato studies university of pittsburgh, prof james allen, spring 2013 lorenzo colombani plato’s theory of recollection in short plato’s theory of recollection is a set of three theses about human soul and knowledge: the first one (81b-e) states that human beings acquire knowledge by remembering innate knowledge hidden in their soul. Theory of recollection from plato's writings about socrates essay the theory of recollection , according to socrates, means that before we are born we possess all knowledge we are never taught anything new, but instead reminded of things we already know.
Now, this theory is presented in the context of meno’s and socrates’ common search for the essence of virtue in particular, it is meant as an answer to meno’s paradox in this paper, i will firstly explain the paradox and the way recollection intends to solve it. Plato demonstrates the veracity behind the theory of recollection and the concept of all true knowledge being innate through socratic dialogues in the meno and phaedo one of the earliest examples we encounter against the theory of recollection is during socrates conversation with meno, in plato s meno.
While recollection can show that the soul existed before birth, and that it will exist after death, the final argument justifies only that such immortality is likely, reasonable and probable works cited plato meno trans grube indianapolis, usa: hackett, 1976 – – – – - phaedo trans grube indianapolis, usa: hackett, 1977.
Ed fraser argues that the theory of recollection presented by socrates in the meno is circular the primary objective of plato’s meno is an inquiry into the nature of virtue accordingly, socrates, acting as usual as plato’s mouthpiece, and meno, a student of the sophists, attempt to answer the. In fifth-century athens, socrates insisted on the importance of the fundamental ethical question—“how shall i live”—and his pupil, plato, and plato’s pupil, aristotle, developed elaborate philosophical systems to explain the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness. Picking a fight with plato ed fraser argues that the theory of recollection presented by socrates in the meno is circular the primary objective of plato’s meno is an inquiry into the nature of virtue.
Meno continues by saying that there is also no way to search for something that you already know, since you already have that knowledge socrates’ reply becomes known as the theory of recollection knowledge, he says, is innate, and what we call learning is really the recollection of facts once known but forgotten. The theory of recollection in the meno and the phaedo the middle platonic dialogues mark a new phase in plato's attempt to understand socrates (the phaedo and republic are traditionally middle dialogues. Meno first suggests that different kinds of virtue exist for different kinds of people socrates replies that meno’s definition is like a swarm of bees: each kind of virtue, like each bee, is different, but socrates is interested in that quality they all share.