put a question to a person in a right way, he will give a true
answer of himself; but how could he do this unless there were
knowledge and right reason already in him? And this is most clearly
shown when he is taken to a diagram or to anything of that sort.
But if, said Socrates, you are still incredulous, Simmias, I would
ask you whether you may not agree with me when you look at the
matter in another way; I mean, if you are still incredulous as to
whether knowledge is recollection.
Incredulous, I am not, said Simmias; but I want to have this
doctrine of recollection brought to my own recollection, and, from
what Cebes has said, I am beginning to recollect and be convinced; but
I should still like to hear what more you have to say.
This is what I would say, he replied: We should agree, if I am not
mistaken, that what a man recollects he must have known at some
And what is the nature of this recollection? And, in asking this,
I mean to ask whether, when a person has already seen or heard or in
any way perceived anything, and he knows not only that, but
something else of which he has not the same, but another knowledge, we
may not fairly say that he recollects that which comes into his
mind. Are we agreed about that?
What do you mean?
I mean what I may illustrate by the following instance: The
knowledge of a lyre is not the same as the knowledge of a man?
And yet what is the feeling of lovers when they recognize a lyre, or
a garment, or anything else which the beloved has been in the habit of
using? Do not they, from knowing the lyre, form in the mind's eye an
image of the youth to whom the lyre belongs? And this is recollection:
and in the same way anyone who sees Simmias may remember Cebes; and
there are endless other things of the same nature.