Anamnesis in Plato`s "Meno and Phaedo"

Comments

Transcription

Anamnesis in Plato`s "Meno and Phaedo"
Anamnesis in Plato's "Meno and Phaedo"
Author(s): R. E. Allen
Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Sep., 1959), pp. 165-174
Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20123748
Accessed: 15/04/2009 04:45
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless
you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you
may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.
Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at
http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=pes.
Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed
page of such transmission.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the
scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that
promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]
Philosophy Education Society Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The
Review of Metaphysics.
http://www.jstor.org
IN PLATO'S MENO AND
ANAMNESIS
PHAEDO
R. E. ALLEN
1.
in the Meno
Socrates
that no
paradox,
Sophist's
either he knows what
not
need
or he
stir,
a middle
that
wisdom
of
women
who
and
not,
must
nor
of things
priests and sages:
be
the
by appealing
told
ever
to learn
seeks
therefore
no
has
for men
found;
notion
divine,"
including
case he
of what
is false,
neither
have
of brutes.
ignorance
to the doctrines
For
anything.1
it is he is to inquire about, in which
does
way
the gods
the difficulty
one
a
in all likelihood
Socrates points out that the antithesis
it is he is seeking.
and
was
states what
He
of "wise men
Pindar
the
overcomes
and
and
ancient
(81b-c)
They say that the soul of man is immortal and never perishes,
though
at one time itmakes an end, called dying, and at another is born again.
. . .
We must,
lives in utmost holiness
therefore, pass our whole
Since the soul is immortal,
and has been born many
times, she has
beheld all things in this world and the next, and there is nothing
she
so it is not surprising
has not learnt;
that she can remember what
she once knew about virtue and other things.
For since all nature
is akin, and the soul has learnt all things, there is nothing
to prevent
one single thing?what
men call "learning?dis
her, by recollecting
and courageous.
For
covering all the rest, if her search is untiring
but recollection.
learning and inquiry are nothing
Such,
in essence,
is Plato's
It comes to us embedded
which
our
is not
theological
trappings,
part of Plato's
Anamnesis
philosophical
own,
of Anamnesis,
Recollection.
imagery of a religion
and many
in rejecting
its
commentators,
no
concluded
that it represents
serious
have
philosophy.
But I shall argue that the theory of
a serious,
represents
And
perplexities.
least in the dialogues
abandoned
doctrine
in the mythical
and
solution
subtle,
there
is no
certainly
of the middle
period,
to genuine
evidence,
that Plato
at
ever
it.a
1 Meno 80e
275c ff.
ff.; cf. Symp. 204a, Euthyd.
2 On the
in the Phaedrus
it is Anamnesis,
contrary;
rouses the soul's desire
of physical beauty, which
perception
it fell.
celestial place" from which
(249e-250c.)
stirred by the
for the "super
166
R. E. ALLEN
The
2.
the first
a dramatic
offers
Meno
argument
forward
put
of the soul in the Phaedo:
of
demonstration
for Anamnesis
the
the
and
of
validity
immortality
(73a)
if you put the question well,
people are questioned,
they will
and yet, unless they had knowledge
and the
always answer correctly;
correct account already within
But
them, they could not do this.
you will find the clearest proof that this is so if you lead them to
or anything else of that sort.
geometrical
diagrams,
When
The
of
slave-boy
the Meno,
of
ignorant
in
succeeds
geometry,
establishing the truth of a fairly difficult theorem with no other aid
than the figures inscribed in the sand at his feet and the assistance
of intelligent questioning.
Here is a fact. How is it to be
Since the boy had never been taught, but only
explained?
it not imply that he had some recollection of a
does
questioned,
seen
truth
a
than
entered
recesses
the
forgotten
If that were
worthless,
of passage,
he
before
in
all
that
curio
dusty
and that
inference.
human
a
form,
truth
and
locked
of
personal
memory?
Anamnesis
the theory would
meant,
of mental
The fact is the
archeology.
in nothing
consists
passage
However
difficult
inference may
be
fact
more
be
it seems
mysterious
to understand,
too that
obvious
that it is not all one with memory,
obvious
no easy
it provides
for immortality.
Nor
is this all.
For
ground
in this way,
taken
the theory
is a hopeless
failure.
If we
could
a
come
can
we
as
to
in
know
not
existence,
directly
previous
why
come
to know
of memory?
without
the intervention
now,
easily
our vision
as
as
remote
if we have
And
remains
forgotten,
really
no
we
the truth itself, whereas
if
have not forgotten,
there is
need
for
recollection.
So
far
from
the
solving
Sophist's
paradox,
this
theory is but a prey to it.
But
Meno
in which
and in the Phaedo,
problem
3.
the context
of
inference
the
theory
indicates
that Anamnesis
is presented,
that
both
it is precisely
in the
to the
is directed.
The
would
have
been
forced
Plato's
upon
sophist's
question
his
in
awakened
interest
and
mathematics,
by
newly
by
to teach;
Socrates
in
himself.
Socrates
had never
claimed
Plato
mind
later dialogues
the offspring
their
knowledge
would
present
him
as a
spiritual
not of his own.
minds,
out of themselves.
of virtue
of other
midwife,
delivering
recover
Men must
The Meno
connects
ANAMNESIS
this fact with our knowledge
with
167
IN PLATO'S MENO AND PHAEDO
of mathematics.
of whether
the question
can
virtue
portion of it is devoted to establishing
The dialogue begins
be
a
But
taught.
major
the truth of the doctrine of
illustration.
This
is no accident;
the
by mathematical
a fundamental
exhibits
of
For
theme.
neither
virtue
dialogue
unity
nor mathematics
can be
if teaching
the handing
taught,
implies
over
of information.
do not understand
You
mathematics
by
Anamnesis
the multiplication
and you do not understand
table,
memorising
virtue
and
moral
In these areas,
rubrics.
by memorising
adages
come
must
from within?it
in large measure
must
understanding
be "recollected."
in
this
not
does
sense,
Recollection,
very special
or the items
and cannot
tell us the date of the battle
of Marathon,
on
yesterday's
whose
judgments,
judgments
This
menu:
the
objects
truth
whose
is the significance
not
does
theory
are
explain
of fact,
matters
contingent
is guaranteed
by
empirical
but those
systematic
necessity.
of "kinship":
of the metaphor
(Meno
81c-d)
Since all nature is akin
the soul has learnt all things,
(ffuyyevri?), and
one single thing,
to prevent her, by recollecting
there is nothing
recovering all the rest.
A single bit of genuine knowledge
serves us as the terminal link in
a
Zeus-like,
whole
of intelligible
link
is
structure,
from ignorance
necessary
can pass
on
But
The
the
reality.
and
his
draw
each
all.
innate
of
grasp
to knowledge.
of
is a theory
theory of Anamnesis
intensional
relations
which
the Forms
it
is not
clear
why
to ourselves
should
inference
the
stand in
The objects of knowledge
and necessary
connection
with
to gain
to recover
the means
intimate
4.
by which
chain,
golden
we may,
to recover
other;
It is because
of
it,
that
the
one
this
slave-boy
and it rests
inference,
bear to one another.
be made
to
rest
on
Anamnesis.
The
between
separated
doctrines.
answer
is bound
view
of the relation
Plato's
up with
as
and Forms.
The Phaedo
them
particulars
regards
an
a
two
entailed
unbridgeable
by
gulf,
yupispi?;,
by
To begin with,
aux? xaO'aOx?, alone
the Form
exists
by
itself, independent of and ontologically
It does
character
so because
to be had
it is a cause,
by particulars,
prior to its exemplifications.
since without
which
are,
it there would
in a formal
be no
sense,
its
168
R. E. ALLEN
neces
et seqq.).
every
(100b-c,
Secondly,
particular
never
to own
it fully;
it is not what
sarily falls short of the Form,
are exepa ovxa, different
Forms
sorts
it has.
and particulars
of
are members
not one.
of two worlds,
(74b ff.).
things
They
"effects"
are
of knowledge
of the
objects
independent
and
from
cannot
be
known
world,
it, they
"separate"
it. Because
there is a gulf between
Forms
and particulars,
Because
physical
the
through
the objects
of knowledge
pass
knowing,
supposes
ment
and
from
directly
prior
knowledge.
for the doctrine
after
There,
of sense, we
in
cannot,
objects
the latter to the former:
passage
pre
This
is the core of the second
argu
the
of Anamnesis
that
establishing
in the Phaedo
recollection
may
(74b ff.).
be provoked
either
by what is like or unlike to the thing recalled, and that when
reminded of something by another thing which is like it, you must
be
able
short
of
to compare
the original,
and
decide
Socrates
in what
proceeds
Forms.
separation
not
equal,
of particulars
as sticks
are
something
just equal in itself?Equality.
know
it?
and
equal
the resemblance
way
to state the doctrine
to
There
sticks,
or
falls
of
is a thing which
to stones,
stones
the
is
but
But how do we come to
the
of sense,
for sensible
through
apparent
equals
are different
sorts of things.
and Equality
Because
equals
Why?
as
one
to
cannot
to know
it
know
is
equal;
Equality
perfectly
sense
it as in any
conceive
sensible
whereas
appear,
unequal,
equals
now
or
now
to
in
different
different
observers,
equal,
unequal,
perspectives.
Not
Again,
they are trying
perfectly
equal.
From
these
conclusion:
sensible
equals
differ
from
Equality
because
to be like it, but fall short; they can never be
considerations,
Socrates
draws
an
important
(75b)
it was
in other ways,
Before we began to see and hear, and perceive
nature of
no doubt necessary
of the essential
to possess knowledge
if we refer perceptible
they all desire
equals to it because
Equality,
to be of its nature, but fall short of it.
ardently
This is true of:
(75c-d)
The Greater and the Less and everything of that sort; for our argument
than to Beauty
itself, to the Good itself,
applies no less to Equality
in
to all those things which,
to Justice, Holiness,
and, in a word,
we
the
our dialectic,
seal of "Reality."
ratify with
IN PLATO'S MENO AND PHAEDO
ANAMNESIS
Now
must
either
we
recall
them.
the man
for
have
who
what
he
must
come
knows,
to know
must
have
existed
The
5.
of
And
particulars.
There
second
unless
know
you
to examples
thing
it every day of our
a
is
of use.
problem
do
This
apply to an object.
first
a
know
of
Therefore,
and the
soul
we
(76c)
is
that
to knowledge
prior
of
capital
importance.
ease with which
Socrates'
of,
say,
while
courage,
a definition
in formulating
what
account
Anamnesis
is, can you
yet
of it. For
furnish
the thing seems impossible;
of it? Logically,
is that we
of
in the
involved
the utmost difficulty
finding
this.
for
argument
is epistemically
is a doctrine
is a paradox
could
point
respondents
must
the
this
an
render
always
do
always
recollection,
things
through
we entered
human
form.
of the Forms
knowledge
how,
these
these
can
knowledge
cannot
and we
before
nucleus
or we
things,
cannot
be accepted;
of
complete
knowledge
alternative
And the former
has
169
specimens
yet the simple fact
lives.
You
have
a
predicate,
But if you are to apply itwith
which
intelligence,
you
you
its meaning.
You must,
that is, know what
kinds
of action are such-and-such
can
before
that
this
is
that
kind
you
say
of action.3
associated
with
the problem
of use is the problem
Closely
of origin?how
did you come by your notion
of courage
to begin
common
A
with?
we
abstraction:
similar
to
to know
a
has been
of
question
theory
and define universals
by comparing
or
and abstracting,
from the
isolating
this
of perception,
their common
context,
in the answer,
are
things
easy obviousness
can know
that
two
a common
Therefore
to
come
objects
material
own
answer
knowledge
character;
of the
knowledge
of
character.
difficulties
similar
but
that
universal
leap
despite
to the eye.
only by knowing
is the
character
must
a certain
But
be
For we
that
they
universal.
epistemically
prior
its instances.4
3
Cf. Laches 190b-c, Aristotle, An. Post. I.i.6.
4
Cf. Theat.
185a ff. It is Aristotle's
doctrine
that sense provides
the
The universal
is apprehended by an act of
universal, but not as a universal.
intellectual
Such a view
is not?at
least
intuition, mediated
by sense.
to the criticism here urged.
But if, with Kant, we deny the
patently?prey
or with
of intellectual
existence
that the universal
is
Plato,
intuition,
in the particular,
immanent
then knowledge
cannot be gained by abstrac
then presupposes
tion, since abstraction
prior knowledge.
170
The
of Anamnesis
theory
in fact,
it represents,
Plato's
doctrine
compare
uncover
the
structures
an
with
that
are
the
of Kant.
of
presuppositions
there could
which
"experience"
but the ordered
data,
Plato's
of
absolute
without
we mean,
if by
an answer
provides
infant
theory
one.
fundamentally
E. ALLEN
to this
problem:
We may
a
priori.
It was Kant's
to
goal
the a priori
at all.
And
experience,
be no
experience
not the casual
as Kant meant,
structure
R.
then Kant's
of perception,
For
the
structure
and
of
flow
goal and
order
of
And
like
the universal.
for Plato,
presuppose
though
experience
must?
the
in
the
final
universal
can?and
Kant,
indeed,
analysis,
cannot
it
be considered
be
discovered
apart from experience.
apart,
The doctrine that recollection may be provoked either by what is
like or unlike, the radical distinction between knowledge and belief,
the
gulf
obscure
between
posited
But
this point.
genuine
contribution
to
and
particulars
in the last
analysis,
else
thought?how
strive for Equality
apparent
equals
of cooperation.
is the product
fall
and
have
Forms,
tended
to
make
a
senses
the
we
could
know
short??and
that
knowledge
But if it is true that both Plato and Kant have a theory of a
we would
do well
not
to confuse
their
knowledge,
priori
a
sense:
the
is universal
in this
it necessarily
For Kant,
priori
true of the physical world.
of Forms
the
separation
There
deny.
and perishes.
which
can
Nor
mind
the
be no
ism,"
refusal
holds
It is just this which Plato's doctrine of
and
exact
particulars
of
science
is chiefly
that which
to
concerned
comes
to be
a
a structure
for Plato,
element,
priori
Kant's
of
itself
upon
imposes
experience.
own
cate
mind
its
the
of
the projection
by
is the
realism,"
"empirical
into
the material
gories
the
views.
of
to grant
and
sense,
his
ideal
"transcendental
existence
and
independent
are equally
alien
the
of
the Ideals which
Reason,
ground
activity
are not
The Forms
Plato's
principles
subjective
philosophy.
itself.
structure
are
of Being
the
objective
organization;
they
Although
knowledge
follow
may
sensible
objective
to
to
of
can recover
that we
it is only
through
experience
we
once
known
has been clearly
that Form
of a Form,
to
reference
without
thread of implication
Ariadne's
objects.
The
world
on
the
further
side
of
the
ytop^[xri<;
IN PLATO'SMENO AND PHAEDO
ANAMNESIS
and once
is self-contained,
It is this emphasis on the mind's
for the
accounts
own
its
need
ethics
and fixes
reason,
the object of knowledge
and divine,
true
(84a).
never
leave.8
of perception
that
of the Phaedo.*
The
on what
its gaze
is true
rather than of opinion,
fulfillment
the
nourishment,
The doctrine
need
independence
intellectualist
strongly
follows
always
soul which
it, we
entered
having
171
of
that philosophy
its
own
finds
deepest
and true virtue consist
in the practice
of death,
the separation
of the soul from the body
to do so, is merely
in so far as it is possible
the articulation
of the
of the y copado?; and of Anamnesis.
ethical
consequences
6.
are
We
now
Anamnesis.
in
a
to
position
see
inference
why
implies
of universals,
i.e.,
presupposes
knowledge
are
we
of Forms.
which
that
But the Forms
"separate,"
implies
come to know
cannot
them through
in sensation.
the objects
given
Now
Inference
either
we
know
do
know
This
this
implies
them
through
since
them,
in turn implies
that we
cannot
some means
perception
at all, or that
And we
sensation.
know
other
them
than
that
presupposes
that knowledge
knowledge.
is epistemically
of Forms
to knowledge
of the particulars
which
them,
exemplify
at least,
this Plato
that knowledge
concludes,
ostensibly
as well.7
is temporally
This
in turn implies
the Forms
prior
prior
from
we
awareness
to explicit
of something
is not a discovery
wholly
known.
something
Learning
already
still ask whether
But we may
this
when
to
the
Forms,
come
sophist's
can we
problem.
recall
them?
For
The
how,
of
a Form,
the recollection
the nature
new,
but
of
and
of
that,
it
of
is recollection.
provides
if we
answer,
of
a genuine
solution
the
have
forgotten
course,
is that
the
5 Cf.
Phaedo 65e-66a.
6 Cf.
82d f?.
7 If Plato
understood
Anamnesis
in this way, he has unquestionably
confused
with
There
epistemological
priority.
temporal or psychological
is no reason to hold that, because knowledge
of x presupposes
knowledge
of y, y must have been known beforehand.
Kant, whose view of the a priori
is in many
never
similar
to
fell into this trap. For him,
Plato's,
respects
the a priori is part of the very structure of reason; reason could never come
to know it, precisely because there could be no reason without
it. It may be
that Plato's doctrine of Anamnesis
should be interpreted along similar lines,
but the explicitness
of the Phaedo on the subject of pre-existence makes
this
appear unlikely.
172
R. E. ALLEN
are
Forms
without
use them
in all cognition,
that we
continually
we
use
this
raises
that
them.
But
the old
implicit
knowing
in a new form;
problem
for how is this possible?
In answer
we may
cite as an analogy
the distinction
between
utens
and
docens.
in
the
Aristotle,
l?gica
l?gica
discovering
a
to the
rendered
brilliant
service
science
of logic,
syllogism,
was
docens.
his
was
But
not
it
the
invention;
l?gica
discovery
abstract
ent
kinds
for
that
of a formal
recognition
of valid
inference,
it passed
centuries
so native
principle
unnoticed
perforce
with
the Forms.
turns
everything
to
order
it in some measure
to use
We
on
recognized,
to discover
are.
fully and clearly what
they
a task, not a
was
It
this
possession.
and practice
the method
of inquiry
formulate
to know
But inquiry itself would
for Anamnesis.
For
how,
thought;
unless
for
them,
of a
genius
when
high
are
they
remains
still
For
fact
they
philosophy,
to
led Plato
that
he calls
which
what
that
were
be unintelligible
you knew
so it is
And
that they are is still
To know
are
hypothesis.
it.
he
it.
nature
their
sought,
obscure and difficult to penetrate.
not
used
a step without
proceed
but it requires
universality;
even
And
their
presence.
recognize
and
consciously
who
as Aristotle
not
could
those
by
Indeed, if it is the valid form of deduction,
had
in many
differ
to l?gica utens
inherent
principle
a
you were
of
it not
looking
for, could you find it?
7.
is a final
There
that
to be
question
considered.
is largely based on the Phaedo;
Anamnesis
of the Meno?
on which
To be more
This
is the account
specific,
the doctrine rests in the Phaedo
account
of
is it consistent with
of separation
also found in the Meno ?
of Anamnesis
the doctrine
is an answer
If, as we have argued,
to epistemological
entailed
of Forms
problems
by the separation
and particulars,
the question
it
answered
in the
be
seems,
should,
affirmative;
appear to be a highly
for it would
to hold
Plato's
development
to fit
found a question
a short way with
dissenters,
later
between
the dialogues
on
the
that he
it.
for
But
accepted
to argue
there
is evidence
intimately
connected
view of
unlikely
an answer,
so would
and
be
only
to take
of
inconsistency
of the
question
relation of belief and knowledge.
In his indictment of rhetoric in the Gorgias (454c ff.), Plato
offers criteria for distinguishing
and belief.
Knowl
knowledge
IN PLATO'S MENO AND PHAEDO
ANAMNESIS
173
not
and it is produced
is infallible,
by instruction,
persuasion.
or
on
true
and
the
the
other
be
false;
hand,
Belief,
may
persuasion
it may
also destroy
these are dis
which
it. But though
produces
edge
we
of knowledge
and belief,
features
tinguishing
natures.
This omission
little of their intrinsic
where
Meno,
connectedness.
of
the
are
of knowledge
grounded
with
his
Socrates
has finished
the criteria
When
turns
he
slave-boy,
have
is made
to Meno
and
says
still
in the
good
in systematic
examination
"At
(85c),
these notions have been stirred up in him as in a dream;
were
would
asked
the same questions
frequently
as well
as anyone
at last."
know
true opinions,
will
go on
but if his mind
to recover
truth
Later in the dialogue,
belief
in different
So
the boy
far,
learned
present
but if he
he
forms,
has only
is further stirred by questioning,
out
he
of himself.
the distinction
between knowledge
and
is more
drawn.
While
the doctrine
carefully
examining
success
is knowledge,
it is agreed
that practical
may
man
well
attained
with
A
knows
who
equally
right opinion.
can
to Larisa
but so too can the man who
others;
way
guide
that
virtue
right
Right
But
not
there
one
as useful
is, and
it is not
there
the way
we have
while
opinion,
knowledge
"that
about
opinion
same
the
is a difference
he has never
although
a
as
is
it,
good
guide
thing
between
as
runaway
down,
slave
traveled
it.
to action
as
Socrates
remarks,
and knowledge
is
opinion
I would
to know:
claim
knowledge.
right
of conjecture,
but something
are not many
of which
I would
things
say
or belief,
of them"
however
(98b).
Opinion
likened
that,
but
On
the
other
hand,
"when
this
and
good
to the mythical
statues
of Daedalus,
which,
run away.
no
more
It will
with
you
stay
on the
unless
it is made
fast by "reflection
(a?x?a; Xoyt<T[X(j>,98a).
the
has
(97a-c).
a matter
be
may
fastened
be
true
is
true,
if not
a
than
reason"
beliefs
are
fastened, they turn into knowledge, and abide; that iswhy knowl
it differs because of its
edge is more valuable than right opinion;
bond
"
(oeor(ji?<;).
account
This
of knowledge,
whereby
a collection
of true beliefs is bound into a coherent system by "reflection on the
is intimately
to the Phaedo's
related
reason,"
description
an account
able to render
of itself
(Xoyov Souvcu, 7665).
vital point is that, in the Meno, opinion is made
reflection.
There
is
an
essential
continuity
of
it as
But
the
into knowledge
between
the
by
two,
174
R.
in the Phaedo
whereas
divine
not
and
objects
an anticipation
of the doctrine of the Republic
and
knowledge
doctrine
is
the
of
Opinion
logical
problems
which
particulars
dialogues
that
that
and
in kind, our modes
different
and not
one
translatable
knowledge.
It follows
in the Meno and the Phaedo
for, but had not yet clearly
are Teipaorixo?
"tentative";
spirit
to a conclusion.
of startling
new
This
formulated.
and
But in the middle
of a man
the
system
sophical
the universe.
that
differ in
The
who
ways
early
the Meno
period a different
spirit
has
Phaedo
originality,
in many
Plato's
through,
things
thought
a
us with
presents
philo
man
a new
and
of
of
theory
in
F.
Cornford's
M.
rests,
philosophy
on twin
of
the immortality
and divinity
metaphor,
pillars:
rational
and
the
of
the
and
soul,
objects
reality
indestructibility
its knowledge.
is the doctrine
The architrave
of these pillars
Anamnesis,
of
into
in the Phaedo,
solves epistemo
Anamnesis
a
between
Forms
and
generated
by
yup^u?;
was
when
he wrote
the Meno,
Plato,
perhaps
shares their character.
is stirring,
and come
is evidently
(V 476c ff.),
respect:
important
groping
and
and
objects,
between
Forms
separation
be different,
can never
become
as "true
same
the
got
the
them must
the doctrines of Anamnesis
this
not
have
opinion
result
if the two are wholly
particulars;
apprehending
the other.
are described
the Forms
(84a),
"
of opinion
This
(?ooCaonr?v).
E. ALLEN
Recollection.
University
of Minnesota.
the
of
of

Similar documents