PlatoCave - Plato The Reality of Ideas SC/NATS 1730 VI 1...

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SC/NATS 1730, VI 1 Plato The Reality of Ideas SC/NATS 1730, VI 2 Plato { 427(?) - 348 BCE { Lived about 200 years after Pythagoras. { “Plato” means “the broad” – possibly his nickname. { Son of a wealthy Athens family. { Served in the Athens army during the Peloponnesian War. SC/NATS 1730, VI SC/NATS 1730, VI 3 Plato and Socrates { Plato was Socrates’ student. { Almost all we know about Socrates is from Plato’s writings. { After Socrates’ execution for corrupting the young and neglecting the gods, Plato left Athens in disgust and travelled widely. z In Italy, Plato met the Pythagoreans.
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SC/NATS 1730, VI 4 The Academy { In (ca.) 387 BCE, Plato returned to Athens and established a school for philosophy, built in a grove dedicated to the famous hero Academos. { The Academy continued until it was closed in 529 CE, over 900 years. SC/NATS 1730, VI 5 Pre-eminence of Mathematics { Though planned as a school for future statesmen, Plato had become convinced that the road to knowledge lay in exact reasoning, as in mathematics. { The famous inscription over the entrance read: z Let no one who does not know geometry enter here. SC/NATS 1730, VI SC/NATS 1730, VI 6 Plato’s Dialogues { Plato’s works span approximately 30 “dialogues” – dramatic conversations with statesmen, citizens, and other recognizable names from Plato’s time and earlier. { Socrates is the main interlocutor. z It is hard to tell what are just Socrates’ own views and what is just Plato’s voice.
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SC/NATS 1730, VI 7 Plato on Reality { Most of Plato’s writings are not about nature, but his concepts of reality and knowledge have had a profound impact. { These are characterized by two well-known passages from his dialogue, The Republic. SC/NATS 1730, VI 8 The Divided Line { Think of everything that is, placed on single line, extending from the lowest to the highest sense of reality. SC/NATS 1730, VI SC/NATS 1730, VI 9 The Divided Line, 2 { There are two main sections of the line, representing those things apprehended by the senses and those things only apprehended by the mind.
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SC/NATS 1730, VI 10 10 The Divided Line, 3 { Each section can also be divided into two subsections. { At the bottom the division is between objects and mere appearances. SC/NATS 1730, VI 11 11 The Divided Line, 4 { In the upper section, the lower part represents matters understood by deductive reasoning { Deduction implies valid arguments from an assumed starting place. SC/NATS 1730, VI SC/NATS 1730, VI 12 12 The Divided Line, 5 { At the very top is the purest form of reality, the forms. { Understanding the forms is the highest goal of philosophy.
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SC/NATS 1730, VI 13 13 The Divided Line, 6 { Knowledge is possible only of what lies in the Intelligible World. { Opinion is all that is possible for the Sensible World. { Therefore true knowledge depends entirely on the mind. SC/NATS 1730, VI 14 14 The Allegory of the Cave { Also in The Republic , Plato explains the route to knowledge and the responsibilities of philosophers through an allegory about prisoners in a cave.
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