Plato

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  • Plato
    • Knowledge is innate, not empirical
    • Dualism: belief that humans are made of 2 parts: soul/mind and body
      • Realm of appearances (our world): imperfect phenomena, visible, senses, opinions, decaying/changing
      • Realm of reality: souls, perfect concepts, intelligible, beyond the senses, true knowledge, eternal/unchanging
    • Forms: the eternal idea of something
      • Form of the Good: the highest Form and source of all other Forms
      • Evaluation
        • Forms could just be ideas in people's minds - Dawkins called these memes
        • Are there Forms of everything? What about suffering and disease?
        • Existence of other worlds isn't proved
        • Plato doesn't explain the link between Forms and the world of appearances
        • Third man argument: a copy of a Form could be the start of an infinite series
        • Goodness is subjective and relative
    • Analogy of the Cave symbolism
      • The cave: the world of appearances
      • Released prisoner: philosopher
      • Prisoners: rest of humanity
      • Shadows/echoes: empirical knowledge
      • Outside: true reality
      • Sun: Form of the Good
      • Journey outside: struggle for true knowledge
      • Return to the cave: philosopher's attempt to explain his ideas/lead society
      • Death of released prisoner: reference to death of Socrates?
  • Evaluation
    • Forms could just be ideas in people's minds - Dawkins called these memes
    • Are there Forms of everything? What about suffering and disease?
    • Existence of other worlds isn't proved
    • Plato doesn't explain the link between Forms and the world of appearances
    • Third man argument: a copy of a Form could be the start of an infinite series
    • Goodness is subjective and relative

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