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Plato's Reminiscence Theory of Knowledge

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30 Questions

Who is considered the father of cognitive psychology?


Which philosopher believed forms could be discovered by looking outward?


Who wrote the first psychology book, 'De Anima'?


Which philosopher embraced both rationalism and empiricism?


What did Aristotle primarily study before becoming a tutor to Alexander the Great?


Where did Aristotle establish a school that later became like a modern university?

The Lyceum

What is the role of the mind in gathering knowledge?

Gathering information of the senses

What did Plato believe about knowledge and nature?

Knowledge exists independently of nature

What is the Efficient Cause according to Aristotle's view?

The force that transforms the material thing into a certain form

How did Plato and Aristotle differ in their philosophical approaches?

Plato followed Pythagorean philosophy, while Aristotle was Hippocratic

What is Teleology according to the text?

The function built into everything in nature

What role did Aristotle assign to the body in understanding?

Viewed it as essential for gaining knowledge

According to the Reminiscence Theory of Knowledge, how do we acquire knowledge?

Through introspection and exploring the contents of our mind

What were the three components of the soul according to Plato?

Courageous, appetitive, and rational

In Plato's ideal society, what role would individuals with a dominant rational component of the soul have?

Philosopher kings

What did Plato believe was the supreme goal in life?

To be freed from the wants of the flesh

How did Plato view education for children with low aptitude?

He did not believe in providing them with education

According to Plato, when are people better able to control their appetites?

When they are awake

What is the law of contiguity?

When we think of something, we tend to think of things that were experienced with it

Which law states that the more experiences occur together, the stronger the association will be?

Law of frequency

What is the basis of learning theory for the next 2000 years?


What is imagination defined as?

The lingering effect of sensory experiences

What is the relationship between imagination and rational thought?

Imagination creates an important link between sensation and rational thought

What was the author's view on dreams' ability to provide information about the future?

The author was skeptical about dreams' ability to provide information about the future

What did Aristotle believe about dreams and prophecy?

Most prophecies in dreams are merely coincidences.

What did Aristotle consider to be the motivating force behind human action?

The satisfaction of appetites and removal of discomfort.

What did Aristotle consider to be the best way of living?

A life of moderation, balance, and the golden mean.

What did Aristotle believe about human nature?

All people are capable of acting hedonistically.

What did the text suggest about the role of emotions in human behavior?

Emotions provide a motive for acting but may distort perception.

What did the text highlight about the importance of early Greek philosophy?

It marked the beginning of a tradition of proposing solutions and attempting to refute them.

Study Notes

Plato's Legacy

  • Roots of cognitive psychology in Plato
  • Nativism and rationalism: believed that knowledge is inborn and that mental thinking is how we arrive at truth
  • Created a dualism that divided the mind and body
  • Writings were warped by future religions


  • Background: received training in medicine, became Plato's student at 17, and later tutored Alexander the Great
  • Took over the Lyceum, a famed school, and made it like a modern university
  • Wrote "De Anima" (On the Soul), considered the first psychology book
  • Added substantially to almost every field

The Basic Difference between Plato and Aristotle

  • Both focused on the essence of truth, but Aristotle believed that forms could be discovered by looking outward, not inward (studying nature)
  • Viewed sensory information in a positive light and embraced both rationalism and empiricism

The Reminiscence Theory of Knowledge

  • Believed that one comes to know forms by introspection, searching one's inner understanding
  • The soul is a part of the perfect realm of the abstract world, but it is in the body, so it is our access to this knowledge

The Nature of the Soul

  • Believed the soul was immortal and consists of the courageous, appetitive, and rational components
  • Humans are often in conflict between these aspects, and to gain knowledge, a person has to quiet the two parts that are not rational
  • Supreme goal in life is to be freed from the wants of the flesh

Sleep and Dreams

  • People are better able to control appetites when awake than asleep
  • The mind must be used to gather knowledge, but the object of rationalism is the information of the senses (empiricism)
  • Both saw that essences or universals could not be discovered by only looking at one case

Causation and Teleology

  • To know anything, we must understand four aspects: material, formal, efficient, and final cause
  • Teleology: everything in nature exists for a reason, but not necessarily with conscious intention
  • Recall is the actual mental search for a past experience

Laws of Association

  • Law of contiguity: when we think of something, we also tend to think of things that were experienced with it
  • Law of similarity: when we think of something, we tend to think of things similar to it
  • Law of contrast: when we think of something, we also tend to think of things that are the opposite
  • Law of frequency: the more experiences occur together, the stronger the association will be

Imagination and Dreaming

  • Experiences create images that outlast the actual event that caused them
  • These images create the important link between sensation and rational thought
  • Imagination: the lingering effect of sensory experiences
  • Questioned the reliability of imagination, saying sensations are free of error

Motivation and Emotion

  • Happiness is doing what is natural because it fills one's purpose
  • Action is always directed at the satisfaction of an appetite
  • We can use our rational powers to inhibit appetites
  • Using rational abilities leads to the greatest fulfillment
  • The best life is lived in moderation, with a perfect balance (the golden mean)

The Importance of Early Greek Philosophy

  • Popperian Science consists of specifying a problem, proposing solutions, and attempting to refute those solutions
  • Aristotle's death marked the end of the golden age of Greece

Explore Plato's philosophy on knowledge through the Reminiscence Theory, which emphasizes introspection and the soul's connection to the abstract world. Learn about nativism, rationalism, and idealism as key components of this theory.

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