Plato And Recollection Essay

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Plato argues in his Phaedo that “for us learning is no other than recollection” (Phaedo 22). Plato is hypothesizing that human beings do not obtain knowledge through learning in the common sense of the word, rather we simply “recollect” knowledge that was hidden in the mind. In short, learning is a form of remembering what was forgotten. Plato utilizes two seemingly basic premises to derive his conclusion that learning is indeed a type of remembering which, as a result, proves that knowledge learnt is really just knowledge recollected. Plato establishes his first premise by defining recollection as a scenario in which a person sees a certain object and is reminded of another object (22). His second premise declares the existence of the concept of absolute equality. He argues this point by using the example of two…show more content…
Plato says that it is possible for a person to see two fundamentally different sticks yet see them as equal. However, human beings can only perceive reality using their senses, an inherently flawed medium. Therefore the two sticks presented can never be truly equal. The recollection argument also relies on the premise of Plato’s definition of the term “knowledge”. Plato repeatedly states that human beings innately enjoy complete knowledge of the universe, but does not mean, for example, complete knowledge of all the books or movies in the world, rather, he means human beings have full knowledge of the Forms, “We had this knowledge, we knew before birth and immediately after not only the Equal, but the Greater and the Smaller. the Beautiful itself, the Good itself.” (26). The theory of Forms outlines elements of the world that only exist in abstract concepts such as Beauty, Circularity, or, as stated in the premise above, Equality.

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