Phaedo 2 Essays

Submitted By dgorges
Words: 626
Pages: 3

The Phaedo, written by the famous Greek philosopher Plato, is a dialogue recounting the events and discussions of Socrates’ final moments before his sentenced death from the well-known trial recognized as The Apology. During this time, Socrates explains to his friends that acquiring knowledge comes from a recollection of things in a previous life as a way to provide comfort to his friends about his anticipated death. According to Socrates, if humans can learn anything, they must have known about what it is they are learning. In contrast, if humans know something without having been taught, then they must have learned it before being born. On the contrary, Plato is trying to argue this by stating that if humans do not know something, they cannot learn it since they do not know anything about it and if a human knows it, then they do not need to learn it. In this essay I will be defending Socrates’ explanation about gaining knowledge before birth.
Plato’s Argument is based on the premise that for one to recollect something there must be previous knowledge of it. He says that it is the soul that has possession of this, and that knowledge exists before birth. This theory of recollection explains that knowledge is not obtained through experience and refers to the idea that recollection, like the soul, is never dying and composes the characteristic of remembering. The knowledge that someone has is already inside of us and we must motivate ourselves to bring it out. In The Meno, Socrates mentions recollection by saying the soul is immortal and before it enters the body it understands all things (Meno’s Paradox). He supports this idea by getting a slave boy and asks him a math question. The slave boy answers the question but has had no previous education, proving that the knowledge was through recollection, and not learned. Even though the first answer was wrong, Socrates mentioned he taught nothing to the boy, and the only reason he was right the next time was because he helped him recollect the answer (The Internet Classics Archive | Phaedo by Plato.")
The knowledge of the equal is an example that adds to the argument that recollection is required for true knowledge. The argument is that we differentiate something by its similarity to the form. We know that two individuals are equal in height because the equality of the two individuals resembles the form of equality. Plato argues that if humans are able to use senses from the time we are born and understand the