Innate Knowledge And Death Essay

2132 words - 9 pages

Tapping into innate knowledge is a mystery that has baffled generations of learned men and women denying them the ability to state for certain and true that knowledge is liken unto a shared casserole at a family or company picnic; that everyone can reach within and draw forth the realization of corporeal understanding from the resources of disembodied knowledge and make the same their own. According to the Advanced English Dictionary, knowledge is “the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning”, while the psyche is “that which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason”, finally episteme is “the body of ideas that determine the knowledge that is intellectually certain at any particular time” all of which indicate the possibility of pre-knowledge before the birth of a child. Where does this ‘knowledge’ come from? Where does the soul come from?
If one was to take into consideration the Christian Holy Bible, Genesis 2: 7 which states: “And the lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Socrates’ argument of innate knowledge stands along with the beliefs of Christianity, because Adam formed of the dust of the earth and Eve from his rib were given knowledge of everything. Socrates states: “Thus the soul, since it is immortal and has been born many times, and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is. So we need not be surprised if it can recall the knowledge of virtue or anything else which, as we see, it once possessed” (Meno 81c).
Socrates continues to prove to Meno with the example of the boy and the area of a square. “Observe Meno, the stage he has reached on the path of recollection. At the beginning he did not know the side of the square of eight feet. Nor indeed does he know it now, but then he thought he knew it and answered boldly, as was appropriate—he felt no perplexity. Now however he does feel perplexed. Not only does he not know the answer; he doesn’t even think he knows” (Meno 84a). Now, Socrates has set the stage to reveal that the boy whom has never received instruction in geometry will recollect the correct answer by only answering a few well directed questions put to him. Socrates then turns to Meno, “What do you think, Meno? Has he answered with any opinions that were not his own?” Meno replies, “No, they were all his” (Meno 85b). Socrates has proven in one test that knowledge is innate and only needs to be coaxed from the psyche by answering a few well directed questions.
On the day of his death Socrates once again is found addressing the issue of knowledge being innate when Cebes replied to Socrates’ statement with, “…there is that theory which you have often described to us—that what we call learning is really just recollection. If that is true, then surely what we recollect now we must have learned at some time before, which is...

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