Ancient Greek Influences on Philosophy of Religion.

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  • Created by: Beth Lee
  • Created on: 18-03-15 15:19
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  • Ancient Greek Influences on Philosophy of Religion.
    • Plato: the Analogy of the Cave.
      • Whats represented in the Analogy of the Cave.
        • Prisoners
          • The prisoners represent us, the people of society who have set our minds on the idea that all that is true is what we can see in front of us - unenlightened people - blindly accepted.
        • Shadows
          • The shadows represent the things we believe to be true. As that is all we see that is all we know and therefore believe the shadow is the truth, and the original object. - illusion - imitations of their true forms - false reality.
        • Cave
          • The cave is the virtual prison in which we have locked ourselves in as it is what we believe to be the only way to live our lives - illusory.
        • Outside World/Sun
          • Outside there is the sun and this represents the Form of the Good, it also illustrates the sun as being the source of the other forms. The outside world represents the unknown - realm of the forms.
        • Journey out of the Cave.
          • The prisoner is described as being dragged out the cave. This represents that we are comforted by knowledge and we do not wish to step into the unkown.
        • Return to the Prisoners.
          • The prisoner returns as he feels he has a duty to the other prisoners. As he has now been shown how great the outside world as he wants to share this with everyone else - duty to help see through the illusions.
      • Critically discuss the validity of the points being made within the analogy.      -the concept of the Forms    -Form of the Good.
        • Are there bad Forms? Do ugliness and the bad need to have a Form in the same way that beauty and good do? Plato argues that these properties are privations or the absence of good. But why not have it the other way: beauty is a lack of ugliness?
        • The three fingers argument. Plato's theory of Forms seems to hold that large objects participate in the form of largeness while small objects participate in the form of smallness. Now look at your ring finger. Does it participate in the form of largeness as your middle finger does? Does it participate in the form of smallness as your little finger does? Is there a separate form of medium-ness? This shows Plato's argument to be absurd.
        • The problem of incorporation. Some forms would logically incorporate others. Is there both a form of the triangle and a form of the straight line in the world of Forms?
        • If there is a form of the forms (the good) might there also be a form of the form, of the form, of the form and so on infinitely? This criticism is often called the 'third man argument' as presented by Aristotle. He questioned the origin of the form of the man, stating that if the form is the thing that all particulars share in, then would there not logically need to be a form of the form? That is, something that both the form and all the particulars have in common. And whilst we are at it, how about a form of the form of the form and so on.
        • What exactly are forms? Plato does not describe precisely what kind of realities the ideas or forms are. Are we to think of them as entities? If so, what kinds of entities are they?
      • What Plato meant by Forms
        • The idea of what a thing is.
          • Though there are many types of cat they all conform to or match to some degree the idea of what a cat is. Plato argues that the true form of a cat must exist somewhere; it exists in the world of forms.
          • A form is unchanging because it is a concept, it is not like physical objects that imitate or copy the form; they die. The form is everlasting, it thus exists in a different reality.
      • Plato.
        • Rationalist.
          • A Priori knowledge - knowledge gained prior to experience.
          • Necessary truths - truths which cannot fail to be the truth.
          • Analytical truths - statements which are true by definition.
    • Aristotle: ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God.
      • Four causes.
        • 1. Material Cause. What is it made of? An explanation in terms of the component parts or constituent ingredients
        • 2. Efficient Cause. How did it happen? An explanation in terms of the agent or process that brings something about.
        • 3. Formal Cause. What are its characteristics?An explanation in terms of the definition or essential properties of something; what makes it recognisable.
        • 4. Final Cause. What is it for? The reason for its existence. This is the most important aspect of Aristotle's thinking.
      • Aristotle.
        • Rejected the forms.
        • Empirical approach: Emphasises the value of studying of the physical world. Come to a true knowledge through our senses.
        • Empiricist.
          • All relevant knowledge comes from or after experience, through the senses.
          • A Posteriori knowledge, knowledge gained after experience.
          • Contingent truths (dependent)
          • Synthetic truths - statements that true in virtue of how the world is.
      • Casuality
        • Everything that exists was in a permanent state of 'movement' or 'motion.'
        • Objects in the physical world are in a state of actuality and potentiality.
          • Actuality - what it currently is.
          • Potentiality- what it has the potential to become.
        • All changes are to be understood as the actualising of potential
      • Prime mover.
        • In all potentialities and powers there are signs of the divine. The prime mover is the continual cause of motion and change in the universe,
          • Continual cause - sustaining responsibility.
        • Ultimate explanation of why things exist.
        • Not capable of change and so it is pure actuality by nature.
        • It has no efficient cause and no telos.
        • It's the ultimate cause of movement.
        • It's the ultimate goal of movement because it is perfect.
        • Does not act, but causes movement by being supremely desirable.
        • God is the prime mover, a necessary being.
        • Without parts and indivisible (divine simplicity)
        • Has a mind, for without it God would not have the ability to direct the universe towards a goal or be responsible for any design or consciousness occurring in the world.
        • Is immaterial and incapable of performing a physical action.
        • Problems.
          • Transcendent and cannot interact in the universe in the way that believers often talk about God's activity in the world.
          • The casual relationship between the prime mover and the universe is unclear.
          • Aristotle believes the matter is everlasting and is not created by God. He is less clear on the origins of the forms/essences of things. These are things that God contemplates eternally, but where did they come from?

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