Is Plato an Innatist in the Meno?

In: Phronesis
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  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Georgetown University, 215 New North Hall, 37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057, USA
  • 2 University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 463 Performing Arts and Humanities Building, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA

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Abstract

Plato in the Meno is standardly interpreted as committed to condition innatism: human beings are born with latent innate states of knowledge. Against this view, Gail Fine has argued for prenatalism: human souls possess knowledge in a disembodied state but lose it upon being embodied. We argue against both views and in favor of content innatism: human beings are born with innate cognitive contents that can be, but do not exist innately in the soul as, the contents of states of knowledge. Content innatism has strong textual support and constitutes a philosophically interesting theory.

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