True Knowledge – Descartes vs. Plato
Many philosophers have tried to figure out what exactly true knowledge is. For years they have been asking questions and looking deep into the mind to better understand the methods needed to get to true knowledge. If we go back to some of the earliest philosophers we meet Plato in Greece. Plato tried to take on the question himself in a fictional conversation he wrote up between Socrates and Meno, and in which we see some insight to what he believes it is. In the conversation Socrates asks the question of what virtue really is. Meno tries to answer by giving a very specific answer as to what virtue was within Greek society of that day, but Socrates then replies that although one who follows what Meno said is considered to be a virtuous person, it still does not define virtue itself. After a while of conversation Meno gets frustrated and gives up, as they could not come to a true definition of virtue. Socrates (Plato) then explains that in order to really know something you have to be able to reason and withhold the Socratic conversation (kind of like a devil’s advocate conversation) in which they discuss the concept at question and bounce back and forth until there is a real answer. Socrates then goes on to say that inside every person’s soul and mind is knowledge they carry with them from their past lives. They know everything already and when they learn it is merely a recollection. True knowledge is really already in our minds but just has to be brought out. Socrates then demonstrates this with a slave and some mathematical equations, but also tries to show the difference between true belief and true knowledge as at one point the slave boy believed he was write, but wasn’t. Plato comes to say that even though one may have true belief in something he still may not truly know that that something is true. Later on a French philosopher, René Descartes, comes along and tries to answer the question of true knowledge on his...
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