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Distinguish Knowledge from Opinion
Pages 5 (1255 words)
Distinguishing Knowledge from Opinion Name In the Meno, Plato uses the elenchus as his method of finding true knowledge. The elenchus is similar to a cross-examination, where one asks the other questions that would provoke the latter to remember the truth.
In Plato’s Meno, Socrates and Meno argue about what virtue is and whether it can be taught. What ensues is an exchange of ideas which lead Socrates to further prove his point – that virtue cannot be taught and is rather simply recalled. For Socrates, “the soul is immortal” and therefore “there is nothing which it has not learned.2 The soul therefore only has to draw out from its reservoir of knowledge all the truths that can be known. In order to prove this point, Socrates calls on a young servant boy of Meno’s and begins using the elenchus on him, hoping to draw out the truth from him without teaching him anything. Socrates begins his demonstration of the elenchus by drawing a 2 ft. x 2 ft. square on the ground. This square has an area of 4 square feet and Socrates then asks the boy how to come up with a square double this area, which is 8 square feet. Through a series of questions and answers using a trial-and-error method, Socrates and the __________________________ 1 Gladwell, p. 197. 2 Baggini & Fosl, p. 13. boy finally come to a conclusion that double the area of the given square is the square of its diagonal. Many times during the interrogation, Socrates points out to Meno that he is not teaching the boy and rather makes him remember the truth. ...
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