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Author Topic: Learning as a paradox?  (Read 271 times)

PerditaPickle

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Learning as a paradox?
« on: July 31, 2020, 01:12:02 pm »
Thread inspired by, oddly enough, the Mynoise.net website.

There is a soundscape available on there named Anamnesis, and the 'blurb' for it reads as follows:-

"To Plato - the ancient Greek philosopher - learning is a paradox: a person can neither learn what he already knows, nor inquire about what is outside the scope of his knowledge."

It goes on to say: "But what if knowledge was already in our soul from before birth?  Socrates suggests that the soul could be immortal, and repeatedly incarnated. What one perceives to be learning, then, could be actually the recovery of that latent knowledge acquired from eternity, but lost in the trauma of birth. This process, Socrates refers to as Anamnesis."  So there may be a second thread there, depending on how this one goes.

I'm not much of a philosopher (in fact I'm not sure I could even if my life depended on it) so I'll likely be just a spectator here.

My challenge to you all is to (tl;dr) discuss the notion apparently put forth by Plato that learning is a paradox   :o
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

EclecticWheel

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Re: Learning as a paradox?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 03:11:08 pm »
My challenge to you all is to (tl;dr) discuss the notion apparently put forth by Plato that learning is a paradox   :o

I may not be well equipped to answer, although I'd like to give it a try.

A friend of mine has a notion that perhaps we are actually all gods from eternity.  I will inquire further into why he speculates this as a possibility.

If true, perhaps there is a GodSelf who knows who she is from eternity, but another aspect that is still unfolding in understanding, still learning what the GodSelf naturally apprehends.

As for myself, I consider myself ignorant of these matters, although I see that in this notion may be an indication of multiple layers or parts of one's identity.

Apart from spiritual speculation, if I recover a memory that had been repressed, did I learn something new or did I always know?  Aren't they both true statements regarding different aspects of the personality?

Personally, I still find it hard to believe that nothing is ever learned the first time -- perhaps we do have a spiritual layer to our identities that has knowledge, but that doesn't necessarily require omniscience.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Sefiru

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Re: Learning as a paradox?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 08:53:14 pm »
"To Plato - the ancient Greek philosopher - learning is a paradox: a person can neither learn what he already knows, nor inquire about what is outside the scope of his knowledge."

Time for me to rant about Plato again! I've mentioned before how I think he was bass-ackwards on just about everything, but he's especially out of his tree on this one. Did he not consider:

- Partial or incomplete knowledge. There's a broad spectrum between 'things a person already fully knows' and 'things a person has no inkling of at all'. So the 'scope of one's knowledge' has a fuzzy border, and most people are (a) aware of the limits of their own knowledge, and (b) can form 'inquiries' based on what they already know to expand their knowledge.
 
- Discovery. People can gain new knowledge without having to 'inquire' for it. If you want to be nitpicky, *every* sensory input counts as new knowledge, even if it's very similar to existing knowledge. Plus, people can straight up show or tell you things you didn't know before. This radical concept is known as 'teaching.'

- Inductive reasoning, imagination, creativity, curiosity. In general, the capacity of humans to take what we already have and make something new out of it. Plato apparently didn't believe that positive change was possible (see also: Platonic ideals, the Unmoved Mover).

In short, Plato may have been smart for 2500 years ago, but just because he said something doesn't make it correct or even sensible.

PerditaPickle

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Re: Learning as a paradox?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2020, 08:42:15 am »
Apart from spiritual speculation, if I recover a memory that had been repressed, did I learn something new or did I always know? 

I love this!  For some reason it reminds me of that old "if a tree falls in the middle of the forest and there is no-one to hear it, does it still make a sound?" one.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

Tags: plato 
 

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