Philosophical Discussion Regarding Socrates' Theory Of Recollection

997 words - 4 pages

The philosophical discussion begins as Cebes brings up Socrates' Theory of Recollection, which claims that all learning is recollection. Simmias cannot quite remember the proof of that theory, and asks for an explanation. Socrates begins by pointing out that we can be reminded of one thing by being made conscious of another thing. For instance, if one sees an article of clothing that belongs to a beloved, one will immediately be reminded of the person whose clothing it is.Socrates introduces the Theory of Forms, making Simmias agree that there is such a thing as Equality itself - something that is independent of any particular case of equality such as equal sticks or equal stones. We know ...view middle of the document...

If this holds true of Equality, it should hold true of all the other Forms as well. It would seem that we lose knowledge of these Forms at birth, and it is through a process of learning that we come to recollect them and know them again. This is why Socrates claims that all learning is recollection.Simmias and Cebes agree that Socrates has shown that the soul existed before birth, but they remain unconvinced that the soul coheres after death. Socrates remarks that this has already been proved, if we combine the Theory of Recollection with the Argument from Opposites. The Theory of Recollection shows that the soul existed before birth, and the Argument from Opposites shows that it must have been born from out of death. Bearing in mind that the soul has to be re-born after it dies, Simmias and Cebes are forced to acknowledge that it must continue to exist after death.Socrates seems mostly intent on showing that we came to know what we now know before birth. However, he never gives any explanation of when before birth we acquired this knowledge, nor how. If we came into this life knowing what Equality is, when did we first come to know Equality? If no true knowledge comes from experience but is all innately given, experience from a previous life could not have given us knowledge of Equality either. Perhaps Plato would suggest that when our soul is first created, and has its first life, it is created with knowledge of Forms. But this raises another question that Plato does not answer: when and how does the cycle of birth and death of the soul begin? And if it has a beginning, why can't it have an end?Socrates asserts that the Form of Equality is different from...

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