Plato's Recollection Argument

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Intro In Phaedo, Plato expressly uses the notion of equality to illustrate the way in which human souls acquire knowledge. His recollection argument for the existence of the soul attempts to link the means by which we acquire knowledge with the existence of an immortal soul. Necessarily, the basis for this argument is Socrates’ knowledge theory of recollection. In this paper, I will attempt to reconstruct the recollection argument and offer two specific objections. In Plato’s argument, there is an unexplained gap in the process by which the soul recollects true knowledge, as the ability of bodily sense perceptions to interact with the soul is not evident. Secondly, providing the gap were bridged, it is not required that souls obtain True…show more content…
According to his argument the process goes: (1) we perceive equal things, (3) then recognize their deficiency. In turn, we then recall our knowledge of things themselves. However, premise 4 tells us that bodily perceptions cannot give us “true knowledge” (e.g., Equality itself). This must be because the body’s nature or essential qualities (i.e., characteristics necessary to make something a body) preclude it from doing so. While, the nature of the soul is such that it can acquire true knowledge. So, one could easily assume true knowledge is similar in nature or essential qualities (if not, equal). An immediate problem becomes apparent. If the nature of our body (which perceives) is of the kind which is incapable of interaction with true knowledge, then how does it interact with the soul? There is a massive gap between our perceptions of equal things and recollection of knowledge via the soul. Plato fails to answer how perceptions cause us to remember true knowledge. The entire process of recollection begins with sense perceptions and this, according to Plato, (somehow) causes us to recognize deficiency. How do these perceptions trigger this recognition? It is unclear how he might answer this
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