– We see something is a “cow” or a “dog” because it “participates” in “cowness” or “dogness,” etc. – So, too, it is beautiful because it “participates” in the Form of “beauty.” • The essences are implicit in the things (but in an imperfect, vague way).
Idealism • Our ideas of things are “truer” than the things themselves. • My impression of a chair does not unveil the essence of the chair. • If I get a clear concept, then I know what the various individual chairs all have in common. • To apprehend a concept is to grasp the essence of the thing. • This elevates us to the level of “being,” the level of the eternal.
Soul • The soul: – the element of the eternal in the individual. – It allows access to the world of the eternal. • The access to the eternal: – It is not through revelation or intuition. – It is through reasoning. • In Plato’s philosophy, the soul preexisted the body in the world of the Forms, and coming to know something is an act of “remembering.”
Being • The world of Forms is thus the world of pure Being (which in the Middle Ages is viewed as the Mind of God). • It exists beyond the world, yet is reflected in the world. • But relying on sense experience will only allow us to see “reflections” of being. • To grasp being, we must think rationally.
The Quest for Knowledge https://
Discuss the allegory • What are some of the main messages of the allegory? • 1) Epistemology: what is knowledge according to Plato? • 2) Education: what is learning according to Plato? • 3) How does the allegory criticize the government or media? • 4) How does the prisoner represent the human condition? • 5) How does Plato address ignorance and fear? • 6) What does Plato think the role of philosopher is?
The divided line: prerequisites for true knowledge 1. Question the presuppositions of everyday understanding. (the shadows and/or empirical objects) 2. Reason on the basis of scientific presuppositions (views of atoms, evolution). (Discursive reason) – Here we rise to the level of knowledge 3. But our knowledge is not secure until we have grasped the truth of the presuppositions. (Direct Intuition) – This is the job of philosophical dialectical thinking.
Plato On Politics and Ethics
Why be just?
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- Fall '09