The Theory of Recollection Definition
Plato’s theory of recollection is revealed in his dialogue between Meno and Socrates where the learning process are based on the prenatal knowledge given to a person from his/her birth. In the dialogue, there is a dispute concerning the meaning and definition of virtue which, according to Socrates, cannot be defined since one cannot ascribe the quality to an object or a concept until it being named. Through this confrontation, Socrates puts forward the idea that learning the truth is possible when addressing the soul recollections about what was acquired before the human birth.
This theory also suggests that true knowledge is an eternal and independent truth, or a universal, that is buried within a person. At this point, recollection is a way of the knowledge acquisition, which is asserted by Socrates’s remark: “Even if there are many different kinds of [virtues], they all have one something, the same in all, which makes them virtues. So, if one is asked, “What is virtue” one must have this clear in his view before he can answer the question”. Viewing the above, the recollection also involves the existence of independent knowledge thus proving Plato’s theory of forms and the theory of immortality.
As recollection is a method of acquiring knowledge embedded in the universe, Plato connects with definitions with a range of forms or representations of one object endowed with various qualities. By cognizing different forms of one object, one can deduce its similar features. On the example of bees presented by Socrates where he states that they can differ in shape and size but “being bees more of less”. In other world, Plato intends to say that forms as inherently attributed to the physical representation but not segregated by mental and spiritual realm.
Owing to the idea that true value is achieved only by comprehending and analyzing different archetypes, or different expressive dimension of things, the recollection theory, then, is a method of acquiring the quality of the object by deducing similar characteristics of its forms and representations. Nevertheless, the idea of a single definition is still achieved trough the presentation of its individual forms.
The recollection theory is closely connected with the concept of Platonic epistemology where knowledge can be called as true if it is justified. In Plato’s dialogue, Socrates states that no one is able to cognate the truth, as it cannot be justified. Therefore, knowledge, like a human soul should be perceived as something immortal and independent; it cannot be changed, since it is a universal concept. The learning process, thus involves the recollection where the soul, the bearer of knowledge, accumulates the beliefs what is already knew before the birth of physical body.