Ancient Philosophical Influences

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  • Ancient Philosophical Influences
    • Plato's understandings reality
      • He believed a priori (knowledge that isn't dependent on experience) reasoning was the key to unlock the truth.
      • Story of the cave: imagine group of prisoners in underground cave. See shadows by fire. One day a prisoner ventures outside the world. He finds the true world and the prisoner tries to pass on her knowledge but he would be killed.
      • Key messages of the cave
        • Metaphysics: what's real? Plato's views that the world isn't real= unchanging world of fORMS.
        • Epistemology:How do we gain knowledge? Plato's view that knowledge through mind priori and senses= posteriori. Opinions and shadows.
        • Politics? who should rule? Philosopher has knowledge+rule. Democracy puts power in those who lacks knowledge.
        • Ethics: what's good? Philosopher sees and understands what good is.
      • Assessing Plato's ideas on the cave
        • Not clear as to why its important for philosophers to rule if its only in a shadow world.
        • Plato says our shadows are unreliable, information we gain we need to help us survive.
        • Plato doesn't prove that there's existence in another realm and isn't clear how the world s relate.
        • Elitism: philosopher isn't different to lead.
    • Plato's Forms
      • Understanding of the forms
        • In our world everything changes- grow and die.
        • Mathematical truths don't change e.g. 2+2=4
        • Plato believes that there's an  unchanging truth about every object.
      • Forms and their particulars
        • Different objects in our world participate in the forms.
      • The form of Good
        • Form of the Good is the ultimate Form from Plato.
        • Form is what the particulars have in common and the sense of 'Good'.
        • Perfection of the Forms come from Form of the Good.
        • Allegory of the cave: good presented through the sun of the outside world.
      • Arguments against the Forms
        • Wittgenstein: suggests theres not 'one over many' but series of overlapping characteristics.
        • Third man argument: theory's claim to explain reality. We need idea of Forms to explain objects have in common but stops us when we arrive at the Form asking what Forms have in common and require thirs man to explain this.
        • Form of the bogey?
        • The problem of existence with forms. Things cease to exist.
        • Forms don't have a practical value. Do not affect scientific studies.
        • Forms of every number, infinite numbers of Forms.
    • Aristotle's understanding of reality
      • The Four Causes
        • Everything in the world changing. Explain movement of things from potentiality to actuality.
        • 1) first cause: material cause. Made from.
        • 2) formal cause: structure.
        • 3) efficient cause: mark of the object, what brought something about.
        • 4) final cause: literally end or purpose, the idea that everything has a purpose.
    • Aristotle's Prime Mover
      • The characteristics of the Prime Mover
        • Unchanging- immutable.
        • Eternal. Perfect: complete actuality.
        • Impassive: doesn't experience emotion.
        • Non-physical as physical objects are subject to change.
      • The Prime Mover and the World
        • Causes all changes that occur.
        • Is not aware of the world. Perfect and unchanging through thinking about perfect things!
        • "substance which is eternal and unmovable and separate" Aristotle.
        • Prime Mover is not a God that creates the world.
      • Assessing Aristotle's view on causation
        • Common sense in the Four Causes.
        • Four Causes give us purpose and determining whether something is good or bad.
        • The idea that everything has a purpose is subjective. Purpose depends on our point of view.
        • Existentialistsargue that we do not have a purpose. Existence depends on chance.
      • Assessing Aristotles view on the Prime Mover
        • Impassive Prime Mover logical compared to a God who is liable to emotion.
        • Prime Mover avoids traditional prime mover problem.
        • How can it be perfect and have no knowledge of the world.
        • Idea of God not being involved not good for Religious Believers. No point of praying!
    • Plato Vs Aristotle- Reason and Experience
      • Plato:reason instead of empirical method. Priori without reliance on senses. Innate ideas that our souls have knowledge- Analogy of the Cave
      • Aristotle: senses over reason. Empirical method using senses: priori truths.
      • Assessing Plato
        • Priori knowledge certain with maths but no certainty with experiences.
        • Colour is difficult to know without experience.
      • Assessing Aristotle:
        • Posteriori knowledge is knowledge of the world around us.
        • Senses can be in error. empirical method: profitability.
        • Hard to understand where we get our ideas from: God or mortality.
    • The Form of the Good vs Prime Mover
      • Good+Prime Mover= not directly or personally involved in the world.
      • Both linked to the existence of things, indirectly.
      • Prime mover explains change. Good a Form refuge against uncertainty of change.
      • Influential to the Christian idea of God. Adapted by Aquinas for the existence of God.
    • Descartes vs Hume
      • Descarte's Wax example supporting rationalism. Properties examined and when they are a lit by a fire the properties change. We know its the same wax despite our senses giving us different information.
      • Hume: content of our minds are experiences. Mind manipulates ideas.

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