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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines various aspects of two central themes of the Meno, how knowledge (epistēmē) is related to true belief, and how it is acquired. This chapter argues that the Meno’s definition of knowledge as true belief ‘tied down with a reasoning out of the cause’, is best understood as a characterisation of a form of knowledge constituted by understanding, rather than by justified true belief. It argues that the best way to construe Meno’s paradox as a serious threat to the possibility of acquiring knowledge is to take it to be concerned with inquiry as the search for understanding something for oneself. The chapter advances a new version of the unjustly neglected interpretation of Plato’s response as principally cast in terms of recollection and recognition, as against the dominant interpretation, which sees it as principally cast in terms of the use of true beliefs as the way to knowledge. In the last section the chapter considers knowledge and true belief in the final part of the Meno, arguing that what Socrates says about their relationship here cannot be reconciled with his earlier account: this confirms the view that the arguments of the final section are not intended to be taken at face value.

Keywords: Plato, Socrates, Meno, knowledge, true belief, understanding, Meno’s paradox, theory of recollection, aitias logismos, road to Larisa

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