Socrates, both in the Phaedo and Meno, postulates that learning is recollection and hence, we recollect the Equal from equal things. It should be noted, however, that Socrates offers no argument for his claim that learning is a collection but instead he offers a demonstration which explains the claim`s validity. In support of his claim, Socrates introduced the theory of forms thereby making us believe in the existence of equality. This presages that equality itself is not inclined to any specific equality case. This equality form is familiar to us since it refurbishes in our mindset whenever we come across scenarios of equivalent objects.
Socrates illustrates that equal objects may be perceived as equal from one perception and from another perception; they may be perceived as unequal. However, I cannot conclusively argue that Equality alone cannot be unequal. Consequently, equal objects can neither be termed as equality as they can at times be unequal nor can equality itself can never be. Therefore, if equality is converse to equal objects but they are able to trigger equality in my mind, they remind me of the existence of a type of equality. It should be noticed that different objects cannot be perfectly equal. Nevertheless, to determine the difference between these objects we ought to have an existing idea of what it implies to be absolutely equal. This means that we must be aware of the equality form that is in place.
It is through learning that humanity perceives equal objects besides noting their deficiency in accordance to factual equality. There have been no situations of absolute equality in the real world despite the fact that for many decades the Equality notion has been in existence. Socrates pinpoints that Equality cannot be learned via our senses but its knowledge is obtained before birth. Arguably, if this postulation by Socrates is in line to Equality then can hold to all other forms of equality. Accordingly, mankind loses the familiarity of equality forms at birth and they are recollected via learning process so that one familiarizes with them again. This process of learning what one was familiar with before birth is what Socrates employs as a premise to reach a conclusion that learning is a recollection.
The recollection theory by Socrates as per my understanding is a result of inquiry by his paradox which is grounded on some syllogism such as if one is familiar with a given information he not to seek what he knows, if one knows nothing he ought not to seek to know and in consequence, inquiry is impossible or unnecessary. The postulation that the inquiry for the unknown is impossible or unnecessary as one already has the information is not valid since what I may know can be in itself a question and there is the possibility to seek information to what I already know. Furthermore, the claim that learning is a recollection eliminates the learning possibility in an individual as it postulates that basically knowledge is recollected. It is imperative to note, however, that the concepts in our lives which are manifested as recollected knowledge at some point must have been accumulated via learning. Recollection theory by Socrates does not provide this possibility as it dismisses entirely the learning process as a method of knowledge acquiring. It is, therefore, evident that this claim by Socrates is not rationally compelling.
Franklin, Lee. “Recollection And Philosophical Reflection In Plato’s Phaedo”. Phronesis 50.4 (2005): 289-314. Web.
Seabright, Robert Glenn Gordon. Recollection As Dialectical Learning. 2011. Print.
Tarrant, Harold. Recollecting Plato’s Meno. London: Duckworth, 2005. Print.