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The Socratic Theory of Recollection - Essay Example

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The Socratic Theory of Recollection

What is education Are there any general objectives for it Are there any universal methods in it Is there such a thing as the typical child upon whom they may be practiced
Traditionally, philosophical methods have consisted of analysis and clarification of concepts, arguments, theories, and language. Philosophers, as philosophers, have not usually created theories of education (or teaching, learning, and the like); instead, they have analyzed theories and arguments--sometimes enhancing previous arguments, sometimes raising powerful objections that lead to the revision or abandonment of theories and lines of arguments. (Leon Bailey, 205)However, there are many exceptions to this view of philosophy as analysis and clarification. The classical Greek philosophers, for example, construed philosophy much more broadly and explored a host of questions that later philosophers--more narrowly analytic in their outlook--rejected as outside the scope of philosophy. Indeed, for the Greeks, "philosophy" meant "love of wisdom," and today we think of their discussions as part of an "immortal conversation." Many of us believe that philosophy went too far in rejecting the eternal questions, and there are signs that philosophers may once again invite their students to join in the immortal conversation. Socrates was one of the philosophers who grounded independent education, stating that both teacher and pupil had equal roles in the process of education. Further we will discuss Socrates' theory of recollection in the view of saying: " "There is no such thing as teaching, and no such thing as learning".
Socrates' attitude to knowledge and education was clearly announced in Apology: a life of the former kind is not worth living. Once one recognizes one's ignorance, one must recognize that a life in such a state is not worth living. One must make it one's chief concern to seek out "wisdom, truth, and the best possible state of one's soul." Nevertheless, in the early dialogues, Socrates puts forth no substantive view about how such knowledge is to be acquired, either because he failed to recognize the problem or because he had no solution to it. (Charles J. Brauner, 353-355) His contribution is limited to seeking out those who profess to care about these things, questioning them, examining them, and testing them, learning from them if they know (unfortunately no one he meets does), and persuading them of their ignorance if and when they do not. Socrates had the support of the Delphic oracle (and perhaps even his daimonion) to sustain his faith that this was enough.
The teacher, according to Socrates, is the leader of civilization. He must pursue truth even when his contemporaries oppose him. Integrity, above all, is demanded from the schoolmaster. The function of the teacher, according to Socrates, is to awaken the average man. The majority, he felt, is guided by irrational thoughts and lethargy, and lives in a cave of half-truths and illusions. Once the student is stirred, and once he becomes aware, he sees a new meaning in life. He probes and he questions. He is guided by curiosity and takes pleasure in ...Show more


Education is a subject which now commands a great deal of attention. What kinds of schools should we have Who should attend them What purposes should they serve How much should government or private agencies control them To what degree and in what manner should they be financed by public monies What kind of intellectual, moral, political, and religious training, if any, ought they to provide These are questions which greatly agitate the politician, the parent, and the ordinary citizen alike.
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The Socratic Theory of Recollection
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