“What Is Knowledge?” from the Meno

Topics: Epistemology, Belief, Critical thinking Pages: 3 (985 words) Published: May 13, 2013
“What Is Knowledge?” from The Meno
The opinions which we believe and are right, are called “true opinions”. According to Plato’s dialogue from The Meno, when true opinions remain stable they can serve equally as well as knowledge until people forget their opinion or change their mind some time later. Knowledge is “tied down” by giving the reasons why it is so. Opinions, even if beautiful, can “escape from a man’s mind” without justification. Moreover, opinions lead less reliability compare with knowledge (Gendler, Siegel & Cahn, 2008, P344). Therefore, people should prefer knowledge to opinion since the former is more correct and lasts longer. Opinion functions as well as knowledge when the opinion is right or true. For instance, a person who does not know how to turn on the computer eventually turns it on by pressing buttons randomly. Thus, true opinion and knowledge work the same at this point. However, this true opinion may not be replicable or reliable over time. For this, the person would need the knowledge that computer start buttons contain a certain logo. Plato argues that knowledge is superior to true opinion. He says that true opinions are not willing to remain long, and they are not worth much, until one ties them down by giving an account of the reason why they are correct (Gendler, Siegel & Cahn, 2008, P344). We can see that mere true opinion is not stable, and it can be fleeting. For example, we see the moon, and may first think that the moon shines by itself if we do not have any knowledge about this. The next day, if we do not see any moonlight, we may think that the moon does not shine by itself. Although the latter idea is correct, and could serve as well as knowledge for a time, our opinion can change unpredictably. On the other hand, if we have knowledge that the moon reflects sunlight, we understand that the moon does not shine by itself. Knowledge gives more consistency and predictablily than true opinion. Furthermore, opinions are weak...
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