237 Sense-Perception and Recollection in the Phaedo MICHAEL L. MORGAN At Phaedo 72e4-77a5 Socrates attempts to persuade Simmias that the human soul exists prior to its present physical incarnation. The passage and the difficulties it contains are justly famous. One of those difficulties, however, has not received sufficient attention, although it lies at the heart of the doctrine of recollection as Plato formulates it in the Phaedo and at the core of the anamnesis argument for the soul's prenatal existence. The difficulty I have in mind concerns the type of sense experience that gives rise to knowledge of the Forms. The problem is this: when Plato says that experience of sensible objects somehow leads to recollection, what kind of sense experience is he referring to ?' The importance of this problem can be clarified by comparing the 238 treatment of belief and knowledge in the Phaedo with that in the Republic. In the Republic the philosopher has knowledge of the Forms and thereby is aware of the deficiencies of what is given to him in sense experience. The non-philosopher by contrast has no awareness of the Forms and hence is unable to recognize the inadequacies or deficiencies of
Phronesis – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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