Theory of Recollection Essay

638 Words Apr 26th, 2008 3 Pages
According to Socrates, the theory of recollection is that all knowledge is known from previous experience. His belief is that we already know everything and have known it since we were born, we simply recall these facts from memory when we re-learn them. It begins when Socrates seeks the true definition of virtue, and Meno wonders whether or not it is a trait that can be taught. Meno and Socrates have trouble getting to the root of the definition when Meno presents Socrates with a paradox. Meno asks Socrates, how can you search for something when you don’t know at all what the thing is? In such a situation how do you know even what to look for? Meno continues by saying that there is also no way to search for something that you …show more content…
Ultimately, it can’t be said that virtue is an unteachable value because Socrates failed to prove his Theory of Recollection. If we do possess knowledge, whether we are taught or are born knowing, shows that knowledge does exist, and we had to learn at sometime. Socrates states that in the theory of recollection, our souls already contained all knowledge, but there had to be a time when our souls knew nothing and we absorbed the knowledge. This disproves the recollection theory because if the soul can not learn, it also can not have the ability to recollect what it does know. A question that arises in my mind is when comparing the disavowal of knowledge and the theory or recollection. If all souls have innate knowledge through memory, this would contradict his statement that he does not have any knowledge. In conclusion, I disagree with the theory of recollection. I believe the knowledge we have as adults is learned as we grow up through example and teaching. The only way the slave boy got the correct answer was through Socrates leading questions, or maybe he deduced from the conversation and from previous knowledge what the correct answer. Socrates viewed the situation in strictly black and white believing that the boy either was taught geometry or knew

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