Platoʼs ʻMenoʼ Part 2

Part 2:

Part two begins with the same approach as the first but it takes an interesting twist, first Socrates tells Meno that we don’t truly learn anything new but that we recollect information from our past life. And to prove his point he asks a boy with no education to help him solve a math problem.

“Now watch his progress in recollecting, by the proper use of memory. Tell me, boy, do you say we get the double space from the double line? The space I speak of is not long one way and short the other, but must be equal each way like this one, while being double its size—eight square feet. Now see if you still think we get this from a double length of line.”

After when he hit a slump in the road and couldn’t continue answering the problem Socrates decided to not give him the answer but let him learn by his own. Which I found interesting because Socrates had the opportunity to give him the answer but he didn’t. For this I believe he did the correct thing, since the kid can really learn more from asking questions other than getting answers.

“And we have certainly given him some assistance, it would seem, towards finding out the truth of the matter: for now he will push on in the search gladly, as lacking knowledge; whereas then he would have been only too ready to suppose he was right in saying, before any number of people any number of times, that the double space must have a line of double the length for its side.”

Leave a Reply