[82a] but only recollection: you hope that I may be caught contradicting myself forthwith.

Meno
I assure you, Socrates; that was not my intention I only spoke from habit. But if you can somehow prove to me that it is as you say, pray do so.

Socrates
It is no easy matter, but still I am willing to try my best for your sake. Just call one of your own troop of attendants there, [82b] whichever one you please, that he may serve for my demonstration.

Meno
Certainly. You, I say, come here.

Socrates
He is a Greek, I suppose, and speaks Greek?

Meno
Oh yes, to be sureâ€”born in the house.

Socrates
Now observe closely whether he strikes you as recollecting or as learning from me.

Meno
I will.

Socrates
Tell me, boy, do you know that a square figure is like this?1

Boy
I do. [82c]

Socrates
Now, a square figure has these lines, four in number, all equal?

Boy
Certainly.

Socrates
And these, drawn through the middle,2 are equal too, are they not?

Boy
Yes.

Socrates
And a figure of this sort may be larger or smaller?

Boy
To be sure.

Socrates
Now if this side were two feet and that also two, how many feet would the whole be? Or let me put it thus: if one way it were two feet, and only one foot the other, of course the space would be two feet taken once ?

Boy
Yes. [82d]

Socrates
But as it is two feet also on that side, it must be twice two feet?

Boy
It is.

Socrates
Then the space is twice two feet?

Boy
Yes.

Socrates
Well, how many are twice two feet? Count and tell me.

Boy
Four, Socrates.

Socrates
And might there not be another figure twice the size of this, but of the same sort, with all its sides equal like this one?

Boy
Yes.

Socrates
Then how many feet will it be?

Boy
Eight.

Socrates
Come now, try and tell me how long will each side [82e] of that figure be. This one is two feet long: what will be the side of the other, which is double in size?

Boy
Clearly, Socrates, double.

Socrates
Do you observe, Meno, that I am not teaching the boy anything, but merely asking him each time? And now he supposes that he knows about the line required to make a figure of eight square feet; or do you not think he does?

Meno
I do.

Socrates
Well, does he know?

Meno
Certainly not.

Socrates
He just supposes it, from the double size required?

Meno
Yes.

Socrates
Now watch his progress in recollecting, by the proper use of memory. Tell me, boy,

1 Socrates draws in the sand.

2 i.e., the middle of each side of the square.