The Meno

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"If I do not know what something is, how could I know what qualities it possesses?" (Socrates) this idea presented to Meno creates the foundation for what is called Meno’s Paradox. This paradox evaluates the question of how are we to find things in the universe if we cannot know where to begin to look? And if we know where to look for the answer then why are we looking? Socrates, however, challenges Meno’s idea by saying that we may not know all things but we know some and by using deductive reasoning we are able to find such answers. This creates the idea that all knowledge is premeditated, “…a process men call learning- discovering…are as a whole recollection” (Socrates). Socrates refers to virtue as the soul, he states that by listening to priests and priestess saying that the soul can be reborn and the physical body can die but the soul cannot “they say…the human soul is immortal…” (Socrates). He then proceeds to say that because the soul does not die “…it has seen all things…” (Socrates). The allowance of the soul to be able to see everything allows the soul to “know”, therefore, we do not learn we only recall. By being able to recall what our soul already knows we only need to remember. Socrates explains this when he lays out the mathematics problem for the servant boy. The servant boy is the perfect way for Socrates to prove his theory; the boy had no prior schooling. As Socrates shows the boy the square and asks him questions Socrates does not tell the boy the answer. He allows the boy to use his own reasoning skills to come to the conclusion. Socrates points out later “…I am not teaching the boy…all I do is ask questions…” (Socrates). This leads to the conclusion that the boy was allowed to think and use his own common knowledge and deductive reasoning skills to declare what his answers were. He was correct every time Socrates asked a question leading to the conclusion that he must have known how to understand and solve the problems before he was...
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