Café Philosophique 7: Plato’s Meno

Monday, 3 December 2018, at 6.00 pm Blackwells Bookshop, South Bridge, Edinburgh

This meeting of the Café will be introduced by Giacomo Melis, Research Fellow of the KNBS Project.

“…Socrates, what do you mean when you say that we don’t learn—that what we call ‘learning’ is actually recollection?”
For our fifth Café, we have chosen a text which is, in equal measure, a piece of fiction and of philosophical writing. Taking the lead from a famous exchange between Socrates and one of Meno’s servants in the eponymous dialogue, we will ask ourselves whether we can obtain any knowledge independently of experience—‘a priori’ knowledge, as philosophers call it. What does Socrates mean when he says that learning is recollection? What can this metaphor (if it is a metaphor) tell us about our knowledge of abstract truths like those of geometry and arithmetic? In engaging with one of Plato’s most far-reaching and widely debated dialogues, we will also have the opportunity to reflect on the nature of philosophical investigations, the contribution of teachers to someone’s learning, and the very concept of knowledge.​

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