Plato Philosophy Through the Centuries
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PlatoPhilosophy Through the CenturiesBRENT SILBYUnlimited (UPT)What is Philosophy?3 main areas in PhilosophyEpistemologyMetaphysicsEthicsHow do we know it is cloudy outside?Does rain exist?Do atoms exist?Does God exist?Is abortion morally wrong?Is eating meat wrong?2What is Philosophy?More examples of questions:What is God?Does God exist?How do we know God exists?What is the mind?What is human nature?We can answer what is a car? by pointing to instances of cars.
Another option is to give a definition of the thing in question.For example:What is a square? This is geometric figure that has four equal lengths attached at right angles.3What is Philosophy?What is goodness? This is a motivating factor in many actions,but what is it? What does it mean to say that something is good?4Plato (428 BC - 347 BC)Lived during time when Athens was at war. There was internal strife, political murders etc.Plato followed Socrates in devoting his life to philosophy.
Socrates had been put to death because he questions politicians about justice andgoodness. These were questions they couldnt answer so they killed him.
5Plato (428 BC - 347 BC)Plato devoted his philosophy to 3 major questions:1What is real? What sorts of things are real?2How do we get access to knowledge about reality? Is it throughsense perception?3What is good? Is it things associated with body, eg feeling good,money?6Platos world viewThere are 2 realms of existence1The world of Flux (change) This is the world that we see. Plato thought the world around us was ina constant state of change. There is nothing permanent in this world.2The world of FormsThis is an unchanging world. Plato thought that there is a stable worldthat we dont directly see. It exists outside of space and time.This world contains perfect examples of the imperfect things we see in this world.The form of the table is the essence of what a table is.
For Plato, the realm of Forms is REAL and this world of Change contains objects thatare imperfect reflections of the Forms--like looking at a reflection in rippled water.7Heres a question for Plato
If the realm of Forms is outside space/time, then how can anyoneknow that they exist?Plato can answer: Through reason and rational argumentation8Argument from RecollectionP1: We can compare one thing with anotherP2: We can only compare 2 objects if we have experience of bothobjectsP3: We can see that there are no perfect circles in the world9Argument from RecollectionP4: We know circles are not perfect because we compare themwith what we know perfect circles should be likeTherefore: We have experience of perfect circlesP5: If there are no perfect circles in the world, we must have gainedexperience of perfect circles in another realm.P6: The realm that contains perfect circles is the realm of FormsTherefore, we have (before our birth) existed in the realm of FormsP1: We can compare one thing with anotherP2: We can only compare 2 objects if we have experience of bothobjectsP3: We can see that there are no perfect circles in the world10Is the argument valid?
An argument is valid if the conclusion is GUARANTEED by thepremises.Is the argument sound?
An argument is sound if it is valid AND the premises are TRUE.Are there any other reasons why we recognize that circles are notperfect?Does the argument work with everything? Think of other things toplug in to argument. Think of abstract things like Equals.11Platos analogy of the cave.This describes where we are in relation to the realm of forms
DRAW ON BOARDWe are chained up inside a cave. We can only look at shadows on thewall. Behind us is a fire and beyond that, the entrance to the cave.
Our view of reality is filtered as if we are watching shadows of objectspassing in front of the fire.
Outside the cave is the Sun (The GOOD), and all of the forms. Theforms are the perfect examples of the things we see on the cave wall.
Plato believed that with enough philosophy, we can unlock ourselvesand move out to witness the Forms.12
Video of Platos Analogy of the CaveStudents, discuss Plato in groups of 4Discussion points:
How can we know that there is a world of Forms?
Can you think of anything wrong with Platos argument?
How does Platos theory relate to other theories, or religion?
Make notes.14Powerpoint by BRENT SILBY
Produced at UPTChristchurch, New Zealandwww.unlimited.school.nz15