Plato, Locke, And The Question Of Innate Ideas

1829 Words Feb 5th, 2018 7 Pages
Plato argues that the recognition of truth in reality is derived from the "recollection" of truth in the soul. A necessary part of Plato's argument is that "recollection" of Truth depends upon the existence of an immortal soul. Locke, on the other hand, rejects Plato's argument by stating that the recognition of truth is not dependent on "recollection" but is rather "self-evident." In other words, Locke argues that one does not need to "understand" truth to know it or admit of the existence of an immortal soul, for truth according to Locke reveals itself by virtue of its being true. This paper will analyze the arguments of each philosopher and show why I believe Plato to have the better argument on the matter of "recollection" and innate ideas in the soul.
Analysis of Plato's Doctrine of Recollection in Meno and Phaedo Plato states that "all inquiry and all learning is but recollection" (81). Socrates uses Meno's slave to show that knowledge comes from recollection. This is Plato's way of stating that recognition of truth depends on the use of one's intellect. Truth may be understood as the conformity of intellect with reality. By using his intellect, Meno's slave recognizes the truth of the measurement of squares drawn by Socrates. Socrates calls this action "recollection." The act of recollecting, or using the intellect, is defined by Socrates as one…