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Analyzing Plato's and David Hume's View of Death - Essay Example

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Plato argues in many works that there is 'apriori' knowledge, and in the Phaedo he argues in particular that it was 'reincarnation' that is the cause of it. The notion of prior knowledge is further inferred to have come from a time before this life…
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Analyzing Platos and David Humes View of Death
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"Analyzing Plato's and David Hume's View of Death"

Download file to see previous pages The following will break down his argument concerning ‘prior knowledge’ or ‘recollection’. In turn, the philosophy of David Hume will be presented. Concerning death, Hume was famously a non-believer in any type of an afterlife, and famously, when his good friend Adam Smith visited him when he was dying, he just joked about it with him and was quite cheerful [Norton 23]. For Hume, all that exists, is within the 'perceptable' world. Where Plato maintained that we have prior knowledge, Hume argues that any notion of 'continuity' or 'sameness' through time, is a notion not that we are born with, but have been conditioned to have. What might appear to come from beyond the senses, is just the product of conditioning that begins in perception and the perceivable world. To state or argue that we have a priori knowledge, is to necessarily posit this as succinct from the senses. In other words, this is a form of knowledge which can be understood as ‘interacting’ with the senses or perception, but it is also a form of knowledge which is distinct as well. Toward establishing this important distinction, Plato raises the problem with respect to the notion of “equals” and unequal's. However, he arrives at these abstractions through an argument which claims that “learning is recollection” [Plato 73B]. ...
However, this process of learning necessarily involves ‘recollection’, and second, we are capable of making abstractions concerning this process of learning. For example, from the notion of similarity and difference, we can arrive at more abstract notions such as ‘equal’ and ‘unequal’. Further, we can abstract these notions from the sensible or perceivable objects which there are often predicated of: “what of the equals themselves” [Plato 74C]. The “knowledge of the nature of the equal itself” [Plato 75B], is a problem which leads Plato to distinguish “prior knowledge” [Plato 74E] from “perception” [Plato 75B]. This is an important argument in relation to Plato’s notion of a “dualism between reality and appearance” [Russell 134], and moreover, it is an important problem with respect to the ontological difference between ‘continuity’ and ‘change’ which was raised in the introduction of the present analysis. In a sense, the “nature of the equal itself”, is given a different ontological status than things which are ‘unequal’. For example, in the world of ‘perception’, all things are different or unequal. In other words, there is change, decay, growth, death, corruption, generation, and so forth. As mentioned in the previous section, all of nature is marked by a process of “becoming” [Plato 71E]. Thus, if everything which we perceive is different and changing, and yet we are capable of abstracting notions such as ‘equality’ – that is, we have “knowledge of the nature of the equal itself”, then, where does this knowledge come from? We could not have acquired this knowledge through ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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