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To Accept or Not Accept Socrates’ Theory of Recollection as Sufficient Answer to Meno’s Paradox

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Before addressing the fundamental issues of the Theory of Recollection, it is worth noting that Socrates never addresses the second half of Meno’s Paradox- assuming one has found what it is they are looking for, how is one to know they have found it if they do not know what they are looking for? There seems to lack a method for verifying one’s answer and if you cannot confirm that what you have found is in fact what you were looking for then inquiry seems to be never-ending. Although this is a discussion for another time, it does highlight an issue, which Socrates faces in the first part of the paradox, the part he addresses, which is the problem of circularity. Ironically, Socrates’ Theory of Recollection, which is used to overcome…show more content…
If the basis of ones theory is unsound there is no reason to accept what has been built up from it. If Socrates’ refutation of Meno’s Paradox is that knowledge is simply recollection, it is necessary that he prove the immortality of the soul independently. Since Socrates has failed to do so, then his theory cannot be accepted a sufficient way of overcoming the paradox. Suppose Socrates managed to adequately prove the immortality and all knowing nature of the soul, his use of the slave boy interrogation as proof of recollection still remains problematic. What is being called into question is the method of interrogation that Socrates uses to help the salve boy recollect. Is the slave-boy actually recollecting forgotten knowledge? Or is Socrates asking strategic questions that direct the slave boy to the correct answer? It is assumed that because Socrates is asking questions and not explicitly teaching the slave boy anything that he has to be recollecting (106, Weiss). However, upon closer inspection this assumption can be easily questioned. Socrates’ use of diagrams begs the question, “can a process of discovery which leans so heavily on seeing- not in the sublimated sense, but in the literal one-be anything but an empirical process?”(Vlastos, 144). Would the slave boy have been able to arrive at the correct answer if Socrates had not drawn out the geometric figures? If he
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