Plato - Knowledge vs. True Belief

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Knowledge vs. True Belief

The discussion of true belief and knowledge in the Meno develops in the analogy of the traveling men; one who knows the correct path to Larissa and the other who has a true belief of the correct path to Larissa (Meno 97a-c). Socrates tells Meno that if both men led to the same result, then true belief is no more useful than knowledge and both beneficial (Meno 97c). This comparison changes in book five of the Republic when Socrates says an ideal state must have a philosopher-king as a ruler (Republic 473d-e). Socrates and Glaucon conclude that knowledge and true belief are different powers so their natures cannot be the same (Republic 477c-478a). Knowledge is the most effective power, while true belief is only what enables you to believe. I think the most important part of the Meno in regards to knowledge and true belief is the passage of the Daedalus statue (Meno 98a). With this analogy Socrates is also able to show in book five of the Republic how true belief is worth less than knowledge. By having the statue tied down, it will not go anywhere and you may always rely on it being there for you to admire (i.e. knowledge). By not having the statue tied down, you will not have the security that it will always remain for you to enjoy (i.e. true belief). This shows that possessing knowledge will never leave you, raising its value over true belief.

It is in book five of the Republic; Socrates first introduces the idea of forms and essences. Socrates tries to establish that one must possess the passion or love for the whole subject (i.e. learning), and not just particular parts within (i.e. art, languages, writing…etc). Socrates uses the example with Glaucon and his love of teenage boys. He loves all that is part of the teenage boy, and does not differ throughout (Republic 474d-e). This is what encapsulates an essence; it is the passion for the whole subject itself, through objects of knowledge. Conversely, Socrates explains to...
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