Plato – Philosophy Essay

Plato – Philosophy Essay.

The Republic is one of Plato’s longer works (more than 450 pages in length). It is written in dialogue form (as are most of Plato’s books), & it addresses major issues in almost all of the branches of philosophy. The central theme in the book seems to be the nature of justice, a topic in political philosophy, but Plato also has his characters explore issues in ? philosophical cosmology, ? philosophical theology, ? philosophical anthropology, ? ethics, ? aesthetics, and ? epistemology.

The parts of the Republic that are contained in our text (pp.

107-123) focus on Plato’s idea (ideal?) of the Philosopher Ruler. According to Plato, ? the best possible political system (state) ? will be ruled (governed) ? by PHILOSOPHERS! (Is he kidding? ) Our reading selection contains the following themes/sections: ? ? Introduction on the unifying of philosophy & politics (107) Why “true philosophers” would make the best rulers (108-12) • What is “true philosophy”? (108-11) • Love of wisdom (108) • Knowledge of true reality (108-9) • The distinctions between knowledge, ignorance and opinion (109-11) • How is a “true philosopher” different from a “lover of opinion”?

(111-12) • Who is best suited to rule the state – lovers of opinion or “true philosophers”? (112) ? ? Political leadership and knowledge of the Good (112-13) The ascent of the mind to knowledge of the Good (113-123) • The analogy between the Good and the sun (113-15) • The image of the divided line (115-18) • The allegory of the cave (118-123) The selection in the text begins at a point in the Republic after Socrates, Glaucon, & other characters have been discussing the nature of justice and the marks of a just political system for some time.

So we are coming into the middle of the conversation where Glaucon is pressing Socrates to state whether it is possible for a really just political system to come into existence. Before answering Glaucon’s question, Socrates wonders whether it is worthwhile to What does he say construct a theoretical model of a good political system even if such a system could about this? Do you agree? Why not actually exist. or why not? Back to Glaucon’s original question: Can a really just (or at least approximately just) political system exist? What would make it possible? (It is the separation of philosophy & political power. ) And this leads to .

. . . unless political power & philosophy are brought together & those who now pursue either the one or the other exclusively are prevented from doing so -neither our political problems nor our human troubles in general can be ended . . . . ” (Text, pp. 108-111) True Philosophy & True Philosophers What are the characteristics of a person who is naturally suited to practice philosophy?

According to Socrates (Plato), a true philosopher ? loves the whole of wisdom and is satisfied with nothing less; ? recognizes the difference between particular things and the essences (or forms) of which particular things are likenesses (e.g. , beautiful things vs. Beauty itself); and ? knows the differences between knowledge, ignorance, and opinion.

Plato argues that someone who really loves something must love that thing as a whole and not just some aspects of it. On that basis, he concludes that a true philosopher (lover of wisdom) must desire wisdom as a whole and not be content with having just some wisdom. Do you agree with this? Do wine-lovers really love all wines? A true philosopher recognizes the difference between particular things and the essences (or forms) of which particular things are likenesses (e. g. , beautiful things vs.Beauty itself).

One of Plato’s major metaphysical theories is known as the “Theory of Forms. ” According to that theory, ultimate reality is a realm of forms (essences) not accessible to the senses but only to the mind (intellect). He calls that level of reality the “intelligible realm” (because it is accessible only to the intellect). The perceptible world (i. e. , the world we perceive through our senses) is a reflection or copy of that higher intelligible world. (The Greek word for “form” or “essence” is eidos. ) Do you think it is possible for one thing to be really more beautiful than another thing?

Well, how is that possible if Absolute Beauty does not exist? How can “A” be more beautiful than “B”? Doesn’t “A” have to be closer to Absolute Beauty than “B” is? But how can “A” be closer to (or “B” be further away from) Absolute Beauty if Absolute Beauty does not exist? A true philosopher knows the differences between ? Knowledge, ? ignorance, & ? opinion. Plato’s view of knowledge, ignorance, and opinion (Text, pp. 109-111) State of Mind Knowledge Opinion Ignorance Object What is (Being, Reality) What is & is not (Becoming) What is not (Nothingness, Unreality) Access Intellect Perception ? (Do you agree with this setup/theory?)

Is Plato right about knowledge, ignorance, and opinion? Here’s a different view…. What about knowledge? The three basic questions in epistemology ? ? What is knowledge? How does it differ from opinion? How do we acquire knowledge? What are its sources? Rationalism vs. Empiricism. (What about Intuitionism and Revelationism? ) ? What are the extent and limits of knowledge? What can be known, and what cannot be known? A (fairly) standard definition of knowledge (and opinion) ? Knowledge is “justified (i. e. , verified) true belief. “

• To know is to believe. • The belief must, in fact, be true. • The belief must be “justified” (i.e. , verified, proved) by some standard and generally recognized means. ? Opinion is belief that may be true or may be false but that has not been or cannot be “justified” (i. e. , verified, proved) by any standard and generally recognized means. Of course, some opinions that are rationally defensible in the weak sense are “justified” in a limited way. And what about ignorance? Isn’t ignorance basically an absence of knowledge? Of course, opinion is also an absence of knowledge. So perhaps ignorance is a certain or special kind of opinion that is in some sense groundless (in a way based on nothing, as Plato says).

? There seem to be various types of ignorance, including unintelligent ignorance, as when someone asserts dogmatically that a false proposition is true or that a true proposition is false. There is also intelligent ignorance, as when someone does not know X and acknowledges forthrightly that he does not know it, etc. More thought is needed on this matter…. ? However, Plato’s view of ignorance as having non-being (nothingness) as its object does not seem correct (or at least not completely correct).

? ? ? Lovers of wisdom (philosophers) — they recognize the existence of absolute, transcendental essences such as Beauty & Justice in themselves, and they seek knowledge of such absolutes. ? Lovers of opinion -they recognize only particular perceptible things & do not believe in the existence of absolute essences such as Beauty itself. So what is the nature of the Absolute Good? (Text, p. 112-113) In approaching the problem of defining the nature of the Absolute Good, Socrates (Plato) sets forth three very famous illustrations of his overall perspective on knowledge & reality.

These are I The Good & the Sun The Good is to the mind as the sun is to the eye, i.e. , just as the sun’s light enables the eye to see in the perceptible realm, so the Good illuminates the mind and enables it to “see” in the intelligible realm. (See text, pp. 113-115) 2 The divided line (Text, pp. 115-118) States of Consciousness Philosophical Wisdom E Objects of Consciousness The Good & Other Forms Knowledge D Intelligible Realm Scientific Knowledge Informed Opinion Delusion C B Mathematical & Scientific Objects Opinion Perceptible Objects Images Perceptible Realm A (Text, pp. 118-123) Can you link the images on the following slide to Plato’s depiction of the cave world on pp.

118-121 in the text? Now that the prisoner has “seen the light,” ? What might happen to him if he were to go back down into the cave-world? (pp. 119-121) ? How does he feel when he looks back down into the cave-world? (pp. 119) ? How does the allegory of the cave illustrate Plato’s overall view of knowledge and reality? (p. 121) More questions: ? What’s the philosophical difference between coming into the darkness from the light & coming into the light from the darkness? (p. 121) ? What, according to Plato, does the allegory of the cave tell us about what the process of education should be?

(pp. 121-122) there are the big questions: Why should we want philosophers to rule? How are we going to get them to rule? Since we are asking them to come back down into the cave-world, won’t we be doing them harm by making their lives worse rather than better? (Text, pp. 122-123) What do you think of the following statements by Plato (Socrates)? “The best rulers of the state are those who know the Good, who don’t look to politics for their happiness, & who live a higher life than the political life. ” “Political power should be held by those who do not want it. ” The End (for now).

Plato – Philosophy Essay

Theory of Forms Essay

Theory of Forms Essay.

1. a) Explain how Plato’s epistemological assumptions shape his metaphysics (Why does he think that there must be Forms? Hint: Plato says (in effect): “Since knowledge is certain, therefore the objects of knowledge must be unchanging. ”). b) Define Plato’s Forms and present the theory of Forms by explaining the “divided line. ” (You can use the visual image, but explain it. ) Plato was extremely devoted in answering the sophists’ skepticism about reason and morality. To do so, he spent more time than any philosopher before him studying knowledge, or epistemology.

He realized that to answer the sophists’ skepticism he had to first solve the three main problems that earlier philosophers had left behind; the problems of change, the “one” and the “many”, and the problem between appearance and reality. Plato started where Heraclitus, who said that everything is changing, and Parmenides, who said that nothing ever changes, left off. He said that both philosophers were correct in their assumptions, for they were talking about different types of objects.

Heraclitus is correct in terms of the sensible realm; it obviously exists, and is a flux that conforms to the “measures” as he suggested. Parmenides was correct in terms of the intelligible realm. Plato thought that beyond the world of physical objects in space and time is another world that is nonphysical, non-spatial, and non-temporal. He called this the world of ideai, or forms. These forms are nonphysical, non-spatial, non-temporal objects of thought that are more real than anything else. Whenever we are thinking, according to Plato, what we are thinking about is a form.

For example, a triangle drawn on the board in class, no matter how perfect and real it may appear is merely a copy of the form of triangle; a plane figure enclosed by three straight lines. It is like a triangle and looking at it helps us think of the real triangle, but it only relates, or “participates” in Plato’s terms, to its’ true form. This theory applies to the entire sensible realm because everything changes and nothing stays exactly what it is. In the world of forms, however, everything is always what it is and never another thing.

Plato believed that because the world of forms is Parmenidean, or eternal and unchanging, it is therefore possible for us to know it. To explain his theory of forms in depth, Plato used the image of the “divided line”. Take a line and divide it into two unequal parts, one part representing the physical world and one representing the world of forms. Then, subdivide these two parts in the same ratio, creating two sub-parts of the physical world (call them A and B) and two of the world of forms (call them C and D).

Plato says let the first, or lowest, section of the physical world (A) stand for images, such as shadows or reflections. Let the second section of the physical world (B) stand for the actual objects that cast these shadows, like trees, humans, or desks. In the world of forms, Plato continues, let the first section (C) stand for the lower forms, or the forms of the objects in section B. The second section in the world of forms, the highest section of all, (D) then stands for the higher forms, or the science of first principles; the knowledge that, if possessed, would prove the basic assumptions of the special sciences.

Plato believed that the nearer we are to the base of the divided line (A), the more conditioned our knowledge is. We can move up the line through dialectic, a process of questions and answer that utilizes hypothesis, criticism, and revision to move nearer to unconditioned knowledge. The higher we climb via this dialectic, the more we rid ourselves of conditions and the better we grasp the knowledge of the non-material abstract forms (D). According to Plato, these are the forms that possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. 2. a) How does the Form Man explain the existence of the many individual men?

b) What is the nature of man and how is the individual man analogous to the state? c) What is virtue or justice in man and in the state? Plato’s theory of Forms led him to many assumptions, one of the most important of which is his view on the form of “man” and his relation to the state. He understood that no one man has ever been perfect and that each man participates in the form “man” to different degrees. Individual men are adequate copies of the true form of “man”. Plato believed that the men who participate in the form more fully are going to more real, and therefore better, then the men who participate less.

This is better explained by his philosophy of the nature of man and his analogous relationship to the state. Plato recognized the nature of man as a psyche, or soul, that was grouped into three main parts. Each of these three parts have motions proper to them that he believed, if harmonized, would lead to eudaimonia, a total well-being. The first, and lowest, part of the soul he called the appetites. The highest part Plato called reason. The third part, between appetite and reason, he called spirit.

He saw the state as having three main parts as well, each corresponding to one of the three parts of the human psyche. Every state needs a governing body, whether kings or congress, so this will be the first part. The second is reserved for the essential producing class, which includes merchants, industrial workers, agriculturists, and so on. Third, Plato held that every state needs a group, between the governing and producing classes, to maintain the state against enemies; this is the guardian group. The analogy relates the producing class to appetite in the individual, the governing class to reason, and the guardians to spirit.

Plato wasn’t just satisfied with this, he wanted to know the virtues of these classes, in other words, he wanted to know what each could contribute best. Like organs in an organism’s body, Plato believed each part of the soul and state have a particular role to play in the whole; they were not discrete and complete in themselves. He thought that the function of the members of the producing class was to provide themselves and the nonproductive classes with the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing.

He realized that if everybody were to be provided for sufficiently, some of the producers would have to put up with having less than others. They would have to be ready to “restrict one’s own consumption for the sake of achieving some sort of balance in the state as a whole”, thus their virtue is moderation or as Plato called it, temperance (Jones 169). The guardians, who make up the second class, must be courageous when defending the state against its enemies, thus their virtue is courage.

The governors make the highest decisions in the state. They determine war or peace, educational and economic policies, and so on. To make correct decisions they require knowledge; this is their virtue. A state in which each class is performing its function is just state. Only when the rulers are making wise decisions that are executed with courage and loyalty by the guardians, and the rest of the population is exercising some restraint in its pursuit of material well being, will the citizens of the state be happy.

Since the state’s three classes exactly correspond to the three parts of the soul, we are able to understand what Plato took to be their respective virtues. Just like in the state, every individual has producing part that keeps them “alive and active, a rational part that is intended to guide and direct the energy produced by the body, and a spirited part that is intended to help keep the body in order” (Jones 169). Just as the functions of the soul correspond to the state, so do its virtues.

A virtuous man is temperate in satisfying his various appetites and lives a life of reason that is supported by his spirited elements. 3. a) Use the allegory of the cave to illustrate Plato’s political views. In doing so, you should b) explain how the theory of forms supports Plato’s favored form of Aristocracy (to begin with, recall the relation between individual men and the Form of man) and c) explain how the theory of Forms grounds his criticism and rejection of democracy (where in “the cave” are the Athenian democrats?where are they on the divided line? )

As we have seen, Plato uses myths and methods such as the divided line to explain his views on certain things; this is the case, too, with his views on politics. To understand these views we must examine his allegory of the cave. He said to imagine there was men in a dark cave that were chained by their necks and ankles in such a fashion that they could not move their legs or necks and could only see what was in front of them. These men had been in this cave since childhood.

Higher up behind them is a fire that is separated from the prisoners by a sort of puppet-show screen. This fire and screen were used by people carrying various artificial objects, such as figures of men, animals, and other materials, to project the shadows of these objects onto the stone in front of the chained men. It was so dark that these prisoners had no clue they were not alone and if they spoke to each other, they assumed they were speaking with the projected images.

Plato goes on to say, imagine if one of them were set free and forced up the steep ascent into the sunlight. He would realize that what he experienced in the cave was not as real as what actually existed. Nature and the sun would enlighten this man and therefore he would gain true knowledge of the world as it is. Plato reasoned that these men, the ones who make it out of the cave, are the men who should rule the rest. His politics were based on man being a social animal, with desires, not only for sleeping or drinking, but communicating with his fellow men in the community.

Therefore, he thought communal life is good and all other human goods depend on it for any sufficient satisfaction; an individual, who is really part of the larger state, is neither complete nor himself in isolation. If the good life for the individual is possible only by community, then there must be some sort of government to give direction to the numbers of men and women who live and work together. Plato believed that the few who are wise and good should rule the many. As his theory of Forms suggests, all men participate to the form of man to different degrees.

He thought that the few men who participate at the highest levels of the form, the most knowledgeable that have exited the cave and been enlightened, are the ones best for ruling, and doing so rationally; the many are lacking in knowledge and virtue. Plato favored an Aristocracy ruled by these knowledgeable philosopher-kings who would impose the temperance on the producers through selective education and controlled propaganda. Each person, in his view, would find their happiness by playing the part in the state that their degree of participation to the form of man best suited them for.

Plato therefore criticized democracy because instead of philosopher-kings who have true knowledge, the rulers are chosen on irrelevant grounds. The art of ruling, which he thought to determine what is best, became in democracy the art of appealing to the masses with flattery. Plato believed that in a democracy it is impossible to exit the cave or rise to the highest section of the divided line because it is powered by rhetoric. Rhetoric works at the level of opinion and only invokes belief by emotional mean, rather than operating at the level of knowledge, where analyzing the forms allows us to discover the truth.

Theory of Forms Essay

Knower’s Perspective Essay

Knower’s Perspective Essay.

Throughout the quest for knowledge, one cannot help but be influenced by his or her personal point of view. As human beings, we all approach this quest from different aspects, while interpreting knowledge in ways unique to our own reasoning, emotion, perception, and language. By human nature we reflect upon our personal experiences when presented with knowledge foreign to our own awareness, and when exposed to unfamiliar surroundings. While one could argue that this preconceived thought is an obstacle to be overcome, personal experiences and past knowledge are essential to consider when embarking upon new beliefs and knowledge claims.

Knower’s Perspective Essay

Technical Rationality And Reflection Essay

Technical Rationality And Reflection Essay.


Technical rationality designates a sequence of events prearranged to attain predestined purpose. For example, if the preset goal is something that we denote as X, then also the technical rationality model should lead to the attainment of X.(Dobbins, 2004) Reflection in Action is essential to the ability through which people deals with different conditions of practice.(“Reflection-in-Action”, 2005) When a person reflects in action, that person turns out to be the investigator in the practice, because he would not rely on the kinds of the conventional theories but instead he would make a new theory exceptional to the certain case.

Logical positivism tells that only the genuine fact is the scientific fact.(“Logical positivism”, 2006) Interpretive epistemology is a part of Western viewpoint that examines nature and those that encompasses facts. It also speaks with the ways of the making of information, and also doubt about diverse information declarations. Interpretive epistemology chiefly tackles questions such as “What and how knowledge can be obtained, and as to what extent the people must know”.

(“Epistemology”, 2006) Interpretive epistemology also tackles about the truth of the outside humanity.

The similarity between technical rationality and reflection-in-action is that both of them deal with what event will come to happen because of the presence of a predestined event. Both of these also tackle models which will lead to the attainment of the goal using theories that will be presented.

Logical positivism and interpretive epistemology is similar because of the fact that both of them rely in scientific facts that are available. Both of them also directs to semantic behaviorism, and these observations were known to be the foundation for psychosomatic behaviorism.(“Logical Positivism, Naturalistic Epistemology, and the Foundations of Psychology”, October 6, 2004) Both also are believers that a good foundation for systematic query is eventually destabilized by its own but not well known epistemology.


Dobbins, T. R. (2004). Journal of Career and Technical Education. 21(1).

Epistemology. (2006).

Logical positivism. (2006).

Logical Positivism, Naturalistic Epistemology, and the Foundations of Psychology. (October 6, 2004).

Reflection-in-Action. (2005).

Technical Rationality And Reflection Essay

Should Exams be Abolished or Not? Essay

Should Exams be Abolished or Not? Essay.

Exam is a word that most students fear off. A word that has a magic power to change a happy person into a frustrated and nervous one. However, it is a big part of the school that all students have to go through. There are advantages in exams, but there are people who think the opposite that exams have more disadvantages to the students and should be abolished.

Some people say that exams should not be abolished, because they say that exams are the only way for teachers to see the student’s level, it builds high sense of responsibilities, and it gives him pressure that will be useful for him later in his life.

The students also compete with not only themselves, but with other people. They do not want to see an increase in their knowledge. They want to beat their classmates to be on top of the class. Another reason is when the student knows that his hard work has paid off, he will feel a self satisfaction inside of him and he will be so proud of himself.

So, those people who say that exams should not be abolished think of exams as a self test to see where the students are, and how good they do.

Read more: Exams Should Be Abolished

I personally think that exams should be abolished. Because exams are stressful and they do not show real results of the student’s hard work and mental ability. They favor people who are gifted or have good memory and good exam techniques, and neglect the less able students who actually need the most help. Even though, those who have good memories may not be very smart during the classes and may not understand most of what they are memorizing. In addition, teachers may grade student papers differently. Sometimes the same teacher will give the student a different mark to the same paper after a few months. Another important reason I think is that students should not be judged on their performance on one day. For example, if a student got sick before the exam and he could not study well and got a bad grade or failed with the fact that he is an “A” student. Therefore, I do not think it is fair for him.

Finally, there are always going to be people who are with or against taking exams. It is a controversial issue in all countries. However, I believe in regular testing through out the year. I say doing projects during the year, grades for participation after every lesson, and having weekly assessment is the best solution and the most fair approach for this debate.

Should Exams be Abolished or Not? Essay

Critical Analysis “The School of Athens” Essay

Critical Analysis “The School of Athens” Essay.

In this painting, you see around 60 Greek philosophers arranged in a very large hall. The philosophers are talking to each other, discussing theories or mathematical queries. It symbolizes philosophic thinking and the search for truth. On the wall you can see paintings and statues. He has used contour lines with domes and actual line with figures. Personalities are arranged like actors in a tired architectural setting, Raphael has represented distinguished Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle (the central figures) Socrates and Euclid.

Composition has been ordered brilliantly, clearly revealing his outstanding ability. The placing of each figure and each group combine to produce perfect harmony, order and balance, and, even though some sixty figures are used in the composition, there is no crowding. Therefore painting is asymmetrical. The main focal point of the painting is on Plato and Aristotle. The painting has more emphasis on these two philosophers than the others because they are centered in the middle of the composition and they are the only two standing in front of hall entrance with sky surrounding them.

Raphael has demonstrated tone in this painting. An example of this is were the light beaming through the windows and creating darkness on the ceiling of the domes. This gives the painting a three-dimensional effect. Also demonstrates line and a range of different colors but mostly primary and secondary, matching perfectly to each figure and object.

The themes he is exploring are philosophic thinking buy Greek Philosophers, who are expressing their theories and beliefs to one another. What this work means to me is, that Raphael had great respect for the Greek scholars and philosophers and admired there teaching and beliefs.

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The intention on the artist was to express social views as it looks as if the scholars are socialising to one another and sharing their thinkings. This could also come under a political interpretation as they might be expressing their political views.

I think the great Greek philosophersAristotle and Plato have influenced this artist because he may of shared many of their beliefs and respect their great intellect. I also think he is influenced by them because they are centered in the middle of the composition.

I find this painting extremely well executed it looks very realistic and the artist puts an amazing amount of detail with every object drawn. I find the painting to be a successful piece of work, the composition is well organised, artist has produced perfect harmony and balance. It expresses many art techniques, such as tone, line, chiaroscuro, shade and perspective.

This art would have been well acknowledged at the time, as the paintings shows great thinkers and represents time of knowledge. This is what the Renaissance was about a passion for knowledge and skill. During the Renaissance people had an interest in classical antiquity, it centered around man, his earthly environment and his visual world. The human figure, the landscape, the treatment of deep space, and realistic representation was important. The painting shows this.

Critical Analysis “The School of Athens” Essay