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Memory, Forgetfulness And Recollection In The Commentaries On Plato’s Phaedo

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the interpretation of the recollection argument at the hands of Olympiodorus and Damascius, and to show how they enrich their reading of the text with a cluster of problems surrounding the concepts of memory, recollection and forgetfulness. It considers the question how much the argument proves, and whether it is necessary to assume the pre-existence of the soul in order to explain recollection. How would a Neoplatonic commentator respond to Simmias' objection to Socrates, that the soul may have come to be with its knowledge already present? While Proclus and Damascius hold some original arguments against Simmias' challenge in store, however, they also offer arguments against a rival account of concept formation that does not feature in the discussion of the Plato's Phaedo: Aristotle's theory of abstraction. They discuss this theory in the course of defining precise level of forms involved in the activity of recollecting.

Keywords: Damascius; forgetfulness; memory; Olympiodorus; Phaedo; Plato; recollection; Simmias; Socrates; soul

10.1163/ej.9789004207172.i-224.30
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