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XII —FORM–PARTICULAR RESEMBLANCE IN PLATO'S PHAEDO

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ABSTRACT

This paper is a critical re-examination of the argument in Plato's Phaedo for the thesis that all learning is recollection of prenatal knowledge. Plato's speaker Socrates concentrates on the case of ‘equal sticks and stones’, viewed as striving without complete success to resemble a Form, the Equal itself. The paper argues that (a) this is a rather special case, focused on geometry; (b) Plato is at pains to emphasize that the Form-particular relation need not be one of resemblance at all, a concession which he insists would not, if made, damage his theory of recollection; (c) even if resemblance is assumed to be the correct account of that relationship, the ‘striving to be like’ gloss is not an integral component of Plato's metaphysics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Christ's College Cambridge CB2 3BU UK

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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