International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series


Un-Forgetting: Re-Calling Time Lost

Stephen David Ross
Pages 21-41


[T]here is that theory which you have often described to us—that what we call learning is really just recollection (anamnēsis). If that is true, then surely what we recollect now we must have learned at some time before, which is impossible unless our souls existed somewhere before they entered this human shape. So in that way too it seems likely that the soul is immortal. (Plato, Phaedo, 72e–73a) Thus the soul, since it is immortal and has been born many times, and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is. So we need not be surprised if it can recall the knowledge of virtue or anything else which, as we see, it once possessed. (Plato, Meno, 81cd)