CREDOS : Meno — III

In response to the epistemological problem presented by Meno, Socrates offers another facet of Socratic philosophy and states his theory of anamnesis. Anamnesis, a Greek word, translated into English means recollection or reminiscence.

Socrates states that we never really learn anything but only recall it. He claims that we already are in possession of the truth and only need a reminder as to recall what it is.

To prove his point a famous demonstration ensues and Socrates uses Meno’s slave to elicit a simple geometric theorem from him. The boy having known no geometry before is shown to know the theorem without actually having learnt geometry.

In the end, Socrates states we only need to recall what virtue is.

But we need knowledge and wisdom to help us remember what it is. He never offers a definition of virtue, and only claims he only knows the form such a definition would take.

Like in the Euthyphro, Socrates brings Meno to a point where he must decide which course to take.

But like Euthyphro, Meno does not take the additional step required and resorts to claiming virtue is a gift of the gods to the virtuous. This definition takes the dialogue in a full circle

with Meno unable to break the circle.

The dialogue concludes with Socrates repeating his initial claim that before we can know how to possess virtue, we must know what virtue is. — Concluded