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Why Socrates Proposes “Recollection” And How To Prove It

1218 words - 5 pages

In this paper, I will investigate the reason Socrates proposes “recollection” and the way he proves it. My conclusion is the reason Socrates proposes “recollection” is trying to help Meno understand how to explain virtue, and shows Meno how to prove it. He asks one of Meno’s slave geometry questions to prove that our souls have all the knowledge we need to solve problems. Which means when we are answering questions, we are recollecting the knowledge inside our souls.
First, Socrates talks about some creeds he heard from different religions (Meno, 71). The meaning of the poem I believe is due to some mistakes we perpetrated, the punishment for us is to go through a series of reincarnation. In the meantime, if we behave very reverent, the Persephone will reward us. Prior to this, we have to spend nine years in the underworld, if we perform piously, she will send us to the sun after nine years, to become a monarch, an athlete or a saint, then have lifelong glories of hero. In other words, soul is immortal and reincarnation, therefore, we must live as piously as possible.
Later, Socrates says “Then if the truth about reality is always in our soul, the soul would be immortal so that you should always confidently try to seek out and recollect what you do not know at present—that is, what you do not recollect?” (Meno, 78) Socrates infers “we should piously live” from “soul is immortal”, but here, he infers “we should take the initiative to recall” form “soul is immortal”. Therefore, I assert recollection means to be pious. Through recollection, we can get rid of the pain of reincarnation and get reward from gods.
In conclusion, even piety and recollection are not identical, piety is a form of knowledge, and recollection is a stage of restoration of knowledge. But recollection is necessary to achieve full piety. In other words, recollection is a process of self-salvation form reincarnation.
Socrates says “As the soul is immortal, has been born often, and has seen all things here and in the underworld, there is nothing which it has not learned” (Meno, 71). Because soul has many past lives, experiences everything, this makes it can recollect in future reincarnation. If soul as Socrates says, learns everything in past, then it is certainly that soul learns virtue. Then I distrust “can virtue be learned when the soul is alive?” If so, the significance of recollection will be weakened, because if the soul can learn virtue from past, then it can also learn it now. In Socrates’s argument of “soul is immortal” (Meno, 77-78), he refutes the soul has learned knowledge, he says the soul is in a state of always having knowledge. Which means it is not necessary for soul to learn knowledge when it is alive because it has all knowledge.
So far, I conclude that because our souls is immortal and reincarnation, and they are always in a state of having knowledge, when we are learning, we are just recollecting knowledge within our souls. From this I argue that the purpose...

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