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Plato and Aristotle - Research Proposal Example

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Summary
Plato (428-347 B.C.) was a pupil of Socrates, the philosopher who was condemned to death, for publicly expounding his ideas, by drinking hemlock ordered by the Greek state of the time. Socrates did not plead for mercy but drank the hemlock and died. Plato was Socrates' pupil and was 29 years old at the time of his teacher's death…
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Plato and Aristotle
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Plato and Aristotle

Download file to see previous pages... This practice is to this day referred to as Socratic dialogue and is much valued by pedagogues and counselors.
Plato was, from the beginning concerned with the relationship between what is eternal and immutable, and what is more transient and 'flows' in nature. This was a preoccupation of both Socrates as well as the pre-Socratic sophists, who were more concerned with human morality and the societal ideals or 'virtues'. While the sophists, like today's postmodernists held that ideas of right and wrong varied from state to state and were equally valid, this was not accepted by Socrates. He believed that there were absolute rules for right and wrong. He believed in eternal, immutable laws because human reason was eternal and immutable.
Plato is concerned not only with what is eternal and immutable as regards morals (right and wrong) in society, but also what is eternal and immutable in nature. For Plato, there was no dichotomy as the two problems were the same. The reality he tried to grasp behind the appearances was what was eternally, 'true', beautiful' and 'good'.
Before Plato arrived on the scene, Empedocles and Democritus had drawn attention to the fact that, although in nature everything appears to be transient, there must be 'something' underlying this flow that never changes. Plato agreed with the view that everything 'flows' and that there are no 'substances' that time cannot dissolve and erode, but that what is permanent is in the idea of a timeless 'form' which is eternal and immutable. So, for Plato, what was immutable was not anything physical and demonstrable, but a conception of a spiritual and abstract pattern that underpin all tangible things in the world. For example, while individual, physical horses may differ in several dimensions, there is an unchanging model of what a horse is or should be and each individual horse conforms to it.
Plato decided that there were a limited number of forms giving rise to all the varied forms we experience around us. Plato called these forms ideas. Plato concluded that there was a greater reality behind the observable, material world and that this reality resolved itself into the world of ideas. These are the eternal and immutable patterns behind all observable phenomena and were the basis for Plato's theory of ideas.
Plato observed that nothing that is perceived by the senses could last forever. Plato therefore, expounded the view that we could not have true knowledge of things that are in a constant flux and are changing. We can have true knowledge of things that are understood by the use of our faculty for reasoning while we can only have opinions about what we perceive through our senses. He illustrated his belief that all natural phenomena are merely shadows of their true forms and ideas by utilizing the 'myth of the cave'.
He likened normal people to those living in an underground cave sitting with their backs to the mouth of the cave and unable to move or look around. Meanwhile there are shadows of human-like creatures projected on a wall, and to the cave dwellers that is the only observed 'reality' for them. They cannot know what is behind these shadows. If however, one of the cave dwellers were to free him/herself and see the actual figures who cast the shadows, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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