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The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 45, Issue 3, Fall 2007

Matthew King
Pages 395-412

The Meno’s Metaphilosophical Examples

I propose that an ill-appreciated contrast between the examples Socrates gives Meno, to show him how he ought to philosophize, is the key to understanding the Meno. I contend that Socrates prefers his definitions of shape to his account of color because the former are concerned with what shape is, while the latter is concerned with how color comes to be. This contrast suggests that Plato intends an analogous contrast between the (properly philosophical) way of inquiry that leads to Socrates’ definition of knowledge as “true belief tied down with an account” and the (not properly philosophical) way of inquiry that leads to Socrates’ account of how knowledge comes to be, that is, the “theory of recollection.”

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