History of Philosophy-Plato Study Guide

History of Philosophy-Plato Study Guide - Plato Platos Life...

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Plato Plato’s Life - Born in Athens in 428 BCE - Plato’s family was one of the most distinguished in Athens. - Plato’s Father died early in his childhood. - The collapse of Athens and the execution of his master could well have led Plato to despair of democracy and to begin formulating a new conception of political leadership in which authority and knowledge are appropriately combined. - Around 387 BCE Plato founded the Academy at Athens. - The chief aim of the Academy was to pursue scientific knowledge through original research. - Plato was convinced that their education must consist of rigorous intellectual activity by which he meant scientific study, including mathematics, astronomy, and harmonics. - Plato composed more than twenty philosophical dialogues placed in three groups. o Ethics o Theory of Forms and metaphysical theories o Technical dialogues that often display an attitude of deepening religious conviction Theory of Knowledge - The foundation of Plato’s philosophy is his account of knowledge. - There are unchanging and universal truths, which human reason is capable of grasping. - The Cave: Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners. o This allegory suggests that most of us dwell in the darkness of the cave, that we have oriented our thoughts around the blurred world of shadows. o Knowledge is like vision in that it requires an organ capable of receiving it. o It is necessary for us to turn completely away from the deceptive world of change and appetite that causes a kind of intellectual blindness. o Education, then, is a matter of conversion (a complete turning around from the world of appearance to the world of reality). o There are two worlds--- the dark world of the cave and the bright world of light. o Knowledge is not only possible but virtually infallible because it is based upon what is most real. o Plato was convinced that we could discover the real objects behind all the
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multitude of shadows, and thereby attain true knowledge. - The Divided Line: o In the process of discovering true knowledge we move through four stages of development. o At each stage there is a parallel between the kind of object presented to our minds and the kind of thought this object makes possible. o
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2010 for the course PL 20166 taught by Professor Collins during the Spring '10 term at Lipscomb.

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History of Philosophy-Plato Study Guide - Plato Platos Life...

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