In The Meno, Plato articulates his view about the difference between true opinion and knowledge. From Plato’s point of view, “knowledge is prized higher than correct opinion” (Gendler, Siegel,&Cahn, 2008, p.344). Then it is necessary to figure out why knowledge is more than merely true opinion and what makes knowledge superior to true opinion. Therefore, in this paper, I am going to illustrate the answers of these two questions with examples, which helps to understand Plato’s thought.
Although knowledge is more than merely true opinion, there are some conditions in which true opinion serves equally well as knowledge. Plato uses the example of guiding the way to Larissa to illustrate the relation between true opinion and knowledge. In the example, a man asks two guides to show him the way to Larissa. One of the guides has true opinion on guiding the way, whereas the other one has knowledge on guiding the way. Then the asker faces a dilemma: which guide should he believe? Or are both guides believable? In regards to this dilemma, Plato reaches the conclusion that as long as the guide “has the right opinion about that of which the other has knowledge, he will not be a worse guide than the one who knows, as he has a true opinion, though not knowledge” (Gendler et al., 2008, p.343). In other words, true opinion may serve equally well as knowledge under certain conditions. Then what are the conditions? First, the opinion that comes to mind should necessarily be true. If an opinion is wrong, then there is no sense to consider it as knowledge. That is just like someone with a false idea on guiding the way to Larissa that cannot help the asker. Second, there must be someone who is willing to believe the true opinion. If the guide’s true opinion on directing the way is not accepted by the asker, for whatever reason, then the true opinion is worth nothing. The last one, and also the trickiest, is that the true opinion has to appear in man’s... [continues]
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