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What Is Knowledge Essay

641 words - 3 pages

Many philosophers have inquired about what is knowledge. Most believe that knowledge is attained by being taught, and not suppressed in our mind since birth. In Plato’s Meno, Socrates argues in favor of the pre existing knowledge, that knowledge is essentially suppressed, and is brought to light through questioning. The argument, which comes from this view of “knowledge”, is that if you know what it is you are inquiring about, you don’t need to inquire, because you already know. However, if you do not know what it is you are inquiring about, you are unable to inquire, because you do not know what you inquiring. One outcome about this view is Plato’s rejection of the claim that knowledge is derived from experience. However when you look at the scene between Meno, Socrates and the slave boy, you can see some flaws in this thinking. Plato uses Socrates’ experiment where he asks one of Meno’s slave boys to demonstrate this theory of recalling knowledge by using geometry. In some cases Socrates’ questions are almost leading the slave boy into the answer. Socrates’ places obvious questions in front of the boy that can be recognized immediately. Also, opposite to Plato’s views, I believe that knowledge can be obtained through other means, and not only through questioning and recollection. In the experiment, Socrates guides a slave through a series of geometric proofs to show that the slave already possessed this knowledge and, therefore, that “learning” is not acquiring but recollection. Plato continues, and says that the slave is simply recalling knowledge learned in a former life.
I believe that there are two views to consider when debating this issue. Firstly, there is the possibility that Socrates merely asked the right questions, bringing the knowledge that was suppressed in the boy’s mind out so he could solve the problems. This was the...

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