The Meno

The Meno

  • Submitted By: boki57
  • Date Submitted: 10/20/2008 12:49 PM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 708
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 487

In Plato’s “Meno”, Socrates and Meno have a variety of discussions that explore many different questions. One problem, however, takes up a great deal of their time. Meno wonders if you are looking for something, but you don’t know what it is, if you find it how will you know if it is what you are looking for. This quandary can take you round and round and is known as Meno’s paradox. This is fitting for Meno to ask because in the dialogue it is clear that Meno wonders how you will know at what point you have found the right answer to a question or problem, when you have no previous knowledge of what the correct solution is. He likes to think and question things in the abstract, but has trouble understanding abstract ideas.

Socrates used the concept of recollection to explain and demonstrate Meno’s paradox to Meno. He explains the thinking that “if a man can recall one face only, as long as he does not get tired of searching for it, then searching and learning are as a whole a recollection.” What he is saying is that once we learn something and store it away in our minds, even if we can’t remember it at the moment (but know that we know it), if we persevere and keep searching for ways to retrieve the information, then this process is creating a memory, or recollection, while we search and learn.

Unfortunately, Meno is completely confused and does not understand what Socrates is talking about. He can not comprehend the concept in abstract terms, so Socrates decided to prove his point by giving a more concrete example using a slave boy. He explains that the slave boy has no geometric skills except arithmetic. Socrates starts to question the boy about a geometric problem involving a square. He makes statements such as: Is a square a four-sided figure with equal sides. If the figure is two feet this way and one foot that way, then the line is two feet. If it’s also two feet the other way the line would be four feet all together. Lastly add a figure the same...

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