Plato's Theory of Recollection

Classical Quarterly 4 (3-4):194-213 (1954)
In this paper I wish to examine the meaning of the doctrine of anamnesis, with particular regard to the role assigned in it to sense-experience. I shall argue that an empirical interpretation of the doctrine as it is presented in the Meno is false, and that Plato is not concerned at all in the Meno with the question of the role of sense-experience in recollection; that the doctrine of the Phaedo shows an inadequate appreciation of the problems involved in assigning a role to sense-experience, and is seriously inconsistent with what Plato says elsewhere, in the Phaedo and in other dialogues, about the senses and sensible images; that the revised and more responsible presentation of this doctrine in the Phaedrus is self-contradictory; that misinterpretations of the theory of anamnesis are due principally to either misinterpretation or neglect of what is said about it in the Meno, the custom of taking Phaedo 73 c ff. as specially representative of Plato's doctrine.
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