Philosophy

This essay Philosophy has a total of 1634 words and 9 pages.






Philosophy



When I was born, I did not know the difference between right and wrong. Now, I do. The word philosophy means

the love of knowledge. One type of knowledge is propter quid, which ask the question why or how. In this paper, I

will demonstrate how Socrates, Hume and Aristotle, three well known philosophers, would explain how I acquired

this knowledge in relation to the principles of right and wrong.

Socrates is the first philosopher, I will discuss. Since Socrates did not write anything down, Socrates thinking is told

through his student, Plato, who wrote his teachers’ thoughts. Socrates is an idealist who believes that things are in

born. Therefor he believed that before we are born our soul knows everything, but when we are born our mind is a

tabular rasa (blank slate). As we grow day by day, we recollect the knowledge from our soul.

… the soul, that is, the human mind, before it is united with the body, is aquatinted with the intelligible world or the

world of Forms. In this prior existence, the true knowledge. After its union with a human body, a person’s mind

contains its knowledge deep in its memory. True knowledge in this world consists of remembering, in reminiscence

or recollection. What the mind or soul once knew is raised to present awareness by a process of recollection aided by

the technique of dialect or the Socratic method. (Stumpf 260)

This is known as the theory of recollection. The theory of recollection is told through Plato in the Phaedo and the

Meno.

In the theory of recollection "Socrates’ answer to the paradox is that knowledge is recollection. This thesis allows a

man to have ideas of which he later becomes conscious by recollection; thereby overcoming the sharp division

between not-knowing and knowing, and justifying inquiry." (Sternfeld, 35) Socrates states in the Meno " A man

cannot inquire about what he knows, because he knows it, and in that case he is in no need of inquiry, nor again can

he inquire about what he does not know, since he does not know what he is to inquire." (Plato 80E) This theory of

recollection may explain why we often say that we had certain knowledge before we leaned it or heard it for the first

time. It is often said that we are born with concepts and it is these concepts that structure our minds, beliefs, and

actions.

"In his dialogue entitled the Meno, Plato illustrates how Socrates is able to show that even a young uneducated slave

boy knows some truths of geometry not because somebody taught him that subject but because be naturally knows

the relationship of various ideas to each other." (Stumpf 260) This quote illustrates how Socrates thought that the

uneducated boy knew geometry. He recollected it from his soul. In the Meno, Socrates states that the boy is

"recovering by oneself knowledge within oneself." (Plato 85D) Knowledge in the Meno is perceived as having an

acquaintance with the object, but not knowing how it functions. Socrates states here that true knowledge is that is

learned. Once learned, we remember that knowledge and apply it when needed. This can be done through

recollection or memory. As an occasion arises that requires the use of this knowledge, we can use the abilities of our

mind and recollect the knowledge for the circumstance.

I interpret Socrates to mean that I was born with a knowledge of right and wrong, but I needed to experience

situations where I needed to recall this knowledge. He makes reference to the initial knowledge being in the soul.

Hume is the second philosopher I will discuss. Hume’s beliefs are different from Socrates. Hume believes that we

were born knowing nothing, and everything is learned. He feels that as we grow, we learn the difference between

right and wrong from our experiences. The present comes from the senses and the past is in our memory. Hume

shows how knowledge begins form the experiences we encounter through our five senses.

It is said of Hume "…it is the use he makes of the principle or the association of ideas, which enters into most of his

philosophy. The principle of association helped the empiricists to explain our powers of thinking consistently with

their

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Topics Related to Philosophy

Ancient Greek philosophers, Dialogues of Plato, Socratic dialogues, Platonism, Virtue, Meno, Socrates, Anamnesis, Theory of Forms, Plato, Reason, Phaedo

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