Meno's Paradox Analysis

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In Plato’s Meno, Socrates and Meno have a discussion about virtue and knowledge, which then leads to the introduction of Meno’s Paradox. Meno asks Socrates “and in what way will you seek, Socrates, for that which you know nothing at all about what it is”, essentially, if one does not already know how to recognize the truth, how will one know when they have found it (43)? Plato, through Socrates, responds to this concern by offering his theory on recollection. Plato’s response, in essence, assures readers that we can rely on sense perception subjected to appropriate capacity. Aristotle confronts this paradox in his Posterior Analytics, where he concludes that while human beings are not born with knowledge, they are born with the capacity to obtain it. Plato’s theory is introduced to the reader in the Meno, when Socrates beings to explain how he “taught” a boy math. Meno asks Socrates to prove that “what we call learning is recollection”, and Socrates provides this example (45). This boy is perceived to be ignorant on subject of math, but after Socrates’…show more content…
While Aristotle does accept Plato’s understanding of the role of formal structure, he believes in a theory of understanding that can be applied without philosophical enlightenment. He expresses his beliefs when he begins his writing, directly addressing Meno’s paradox in saying, “I imagine there is nothing to prevent a man in one sense knowing what he is learning, in another not knowing it” (1:1). He goes on to disagree with Plato and Socrates, claiming that “we suppose ourselves to possess unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophist knows” (1:2). This is Aristotle’s way of addressing Plato’s theories of recollection, episteme and ortho doxa, which he believes to be incorrect; he believes that observation is a reliable source of knowledge about the

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