Plato's Beliefs

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Plato believed there to be a sharp distinction between the world of perceivable objects and the world of forms. A form is what makes something to be that of what it is, or its essence. The form is that in which all members of the same kind have in a common type class. For example; if we were talking about pencils, a pencil would be an individual while pencil would be a form. In the dialogue “Meno,” Socrates opens not with the question of “what is virtue?” but rather “how and if virtue can be taught.” He then attempts to discover an exact definition of virtue because before one can discuss the subsequent questions about it, one must have an exact definition. Plato brings forth the idea of anamnesis, which states the soul is eternal and already knows everything, and in order to learn one must simply recollect what they already know. Throughout the dialogue Meno proposes many definitions of virtue, all of which are turned down by Socrates because he tends to use the word he is defining in the definition. As a result, the question is raised of whether it is even possible to seek for something one does not know yet, attempting to find a definition of virtue. By the end of the dialogue the two come to the conclusion that they still do not have a clear definition; however, they do not now that they do not know. This introduces the objection proposed by Meno discussing the entire definitional search in the form of what has been called “The Paradox of Inquiry.” The argument appeared to be very mature and developed, but Plato critiqued it harshly. His response to the objection is as follows, one cant come to know something that they did not already know; inquiry never produces new knowledge, but only recalls things that it already knows. The objection made by Meno can be restated as if one knows what they’re looking for, inquiry is unnecessary; if one does not know what…...

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