Ancient Philosophy


What were Plato’s main ideas as presented and developed in his early dialogues?

The early dialogues are very argumentative, and they display the Socratic method. Socrates is the main character, who begins by asking a question. Conclusions are not reached so much as questions are raised and clarified. The subject is morality, beginning with shared values such as piety or justice and then demonstrating how little is really known about them.

In the Meno, Socrates plies his questions toward the more positive end of showing how knowledge is innate in the soul. Meno is an uneducated slave boy from whom Socrates extracts knowledge of geometry through a series of skillful questions. Socrates concludes that because the soul acquired knowledge before birth, what we know is not learned, but recollected.


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