Plato has not allowed for the possibility of fixed and unchanging relationships among noneternal

Plato has not allowed for the possibility of fixed and unchanging relationships among noneternal

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Plato has not allowed for the possibility of fixed and unchanging relationships among noneternal (contingent) objects . If there were such relationships, his demands for the objects of propositional knowledge would be met without the need for immutable objects of acquaintance (= the Forms). Are there such relationships? Consider these propositions: Zebras have stripes. Salt dissolves in water. Gold has atomic number 79. These propositions seem to be invariably true, even though they are not about invariable objects. What makes “Zebras have stripes” invariably true is not the existence of an invariable zebra, but the fact that an invariable relationship exists among ordinary, variable, corruptible, flesh-and- blood zebras. The discovery, examination, and explanation of such regularities in nature is the business of natural science, for which Plato makes no provision. His idea that things that can move and change are cognitively unreliable, and cannot be known, has the consequence that
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Unformatted text preview: natural science is impossible ! For natural science -as Aristotle was quick to notice -“must take for granted that the things that exist by nature are, either all or some of them, in motion (i.e., subject to change)” ( Phys . 185a12-13). And physical science maintains that there can be invariable, necessary truths about changeable, corruptible objects. Instead, Plato supposes that necessary truths are about Forms. If it really is invariably true that zebras have stripes, this is because of some invariable feature of the Zebra Itself, an incorruptible and eternal object of contemplation. Note that a consequence of the line Plato takes is that propositions that appear to be about sensible, spatio-temporal particulars turn out, if they are to be objects of knowledge, not to be about those things at all. Which is to say, our knowledge gets cut off from the world of experience....
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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