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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Meno and Contemporary Perspectives on Learning

Karim Dharamsi.

Some cognitive scientists and philosophers have recently revitalised debates on the nature of learning by turning to Plato's dialogue the Meno. Theorists are, however, split on just what conception of learning is advanced by the dialogue. I present what I take to be the common view, namely, that Plato is advancing an nativist account of learning and suggest that this account is far more controversial than some theorists' assume. In contrast, I suggest an alternative view that renders the innate knowledge reading of the dialogue largely uninformative. But I do suggest another reading, following some contemporary thinkers who have problematised the common reading of the dialogue. This alternative calls for a view of learning that seems far more plausible, but presents problems for those who maintain a commitment to innnate knowledge. Not merely an abstract debate on learning, I suggest that the conception of learning supported by the alternative reading has iimplications for our understanding of mind and persons.


Karim Dharamsi  (Canada)
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of Winnipeg

Karim Dharamsi teaches Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

  • Learning Theory
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Plato
  • Innate Knowledge
  • Normativity
  • Rationality
  • Reasoning out explanations
Person as Subject
  • Plato Alison Gopnik Andrew Meltzoff Roy Holland Dominic Scott Jane Day

(Virtual Presentation, English)