Ancient Philosophical Influences - Plato and Aristotle

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  • Ancient Philosophical Influences
    • Plato
      • Plato believes it is foolish to rely so heavily on our senses when we cannot trust them.
      • Heraclitus said 'you can never step into the same river twice' meaning that it is in a state of flux, and thus cannot be the same river the second time. Plato was heavily influenced by this idea. Plato's quest was to discover what was perfect , unchanging and immortal.
      • Plato's analogy of the cave
        • Strengths
          • Plato makes a good point that empirical knowledge can be flawed (as shown by the prisoners thinking the shadows to be real), this is because we live in an imperfect world of appearances and imitation of the forms
          • Plato gives a reason for the imperfections of the world which we see all around us, admits the world is imperfect copies of the world of forms
          • we recognise these imperfect copies of the world of forms as we lived there before
        • weaknesses
          • Plato's Argument is absolutist. But not everyone may accept this- Aristotle didn't
          • Just because one is philosophically enlightened does that make them necessarily perfect for leadership?
        • 4. People walk behind the wall so prisoners see their shadows and believe this is reality as its all they see. they also think all the noise ic coming from the shadows.
          • Puppet masters= people In power e.g. media, government and religion
          • Shadows on the wall= the things we experience
          • 5. One prisoner is freed. at first he struggles to see as he is in a confused state. after trying to exist the cave he becomes blinded by the light of the sun but gradually he would adapt and realise the role of the sun.
            • initial blindness= difficulty to accept the truth
            • The liberated prisoner= philosopher
            • The ascent upwards and out of the cave= the journey of truth is hard
            • 6. With seeing everything he wouldn't want to return but he does to teach the other prisoners about reality. The other prisoners struggle to hear and observe his story so they immediately believe it is a bad option to leave the cave and kill the freed officer
              • Seeing unclearly going back into the cave= the difficulty in seeing the forms in the world of appearances
      • Knowledge is gained through senses is merely opinions but knowledge gained through reason is certain
      • Plato's theory of the forms
        • Forms= perfect ideas, types of things. They are not created, they don't do anything. They are just there, they are timeless, unchanging, immaterial and beyond space
        • They are known through our intelligence and reason
        • Plato says that the world we live in participates in the world of forms
        • The form of the good : through this we can understand the value of all things. The forms of the good illuminates the other forms. Its the  ultimate end in itself.
        • Strengths
          • The theory explains why we all recognise the same essential elements in something, as they all have bits of a form in them,
    • Aristotle
      • Four Causes
        • The material cause - the matter or substance from which something is made.
        • The formal cause - what are the characteristic -s
        • The efficient cause - how did it come about?
        • The final cause- what is its purpose?
      • Plato and Aristotle
        • Aristotle's philosophy is different to Plato's, he emphasises the value of studying the physical world = empirical study.
        • he rejects platos theory of the forms  and rejects dualism
        • He is a materialist.
      • The Prime Mover
        • This is something that causes motion and change of the universe without being moved or eternal. Something that is eternal must be necessarily be good
        • The PM must exist by necessity because the PM is the final cause of everything in the world. He is the one who made the first cause that has cause everything until today.
        • It is related to the universe as a leader and is the order of the universe.
        • The PM doesn't have a physical body as this is something that changes. Therefore Aristotle argues that the PM has a "spiritual body"  that is immaterial. Because it is immaterial, it can only do intellectual and spiritual activities.
      • Potentiality and actuality
        • Everything that exists is in a permanent state of movement or motion. By motion Aristotle means change.
        • He found these 4 things 1. the physical world is constantly in motion and change. 2.the planets seem to be moving eternally. 3. change or motion is always caused by something. 4. objects in the world are in the state of potentiality or actuality conclusion= there exists something that causes the change without being moved and this thing is eternal.
        • If something can change then it exists in one actual state and has the potential to become another state. Therefore to start these processes of motion all off, there must be a being that doesn't have the potential to change but is fully actuality.
      • Criticisms
        • The relationship between the prime mover and universe is unclear.
        • Is there a final cause of the universe?

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