Critically compare Plato's Form of the Good and Aristotle's Prime Mover

  • Created by: lace123
  • Created on: 20-02-20 20:51

Critically compare Plato's Form of the Good and Aristotle's Prime Mover


  • Plato is a rationalist which means his reality is discovered through reason (a priori)The analogy of the cave shows his views of the world and the world of forms. Plato is focused on perfection and that the truth must be perfect, which results in our world (world of appearances) is false reality and the world of forms is true reality. He argued that the form of the good is the highest form which leads to his hierarchy of forms. Plato suggested that due to the fact that our bodies are imperfect as they change we must have a soul which is perfect He argues that our souls used to live in the W.O.F. but no are trapped in our body and this is why we recognise forms - innate knowledge. Plato demonstrates this in the analogy of the poor boy and the maths question. In regards to our soul he uses the analogy of the charioteer - the charioteer is reason/soul and the two horses appetite and emotion is our body - like the charioteer directs the horses the soul directs our body. As a result of the world being imperfect Plato suggested that the creator must not be perfect either - he called this Godly figure the demiurge The demiurge is not all the omni’s but he created the world with what he had. He doesn’t interact with earth. Plato argued that if you know good and bad we would choose good as every form wants to be like the form of the good. however , it is the ignorance of good that makes us choose bad                                                                                                                               A downfall is that Plato’s ideas are influenced by the death of his most beloved teacher Socrates and so was his reasoning out of sadness - a way of coping? --FREUD--  B.RUSSELL - when taken to its extreme it fails  - “a bottomless pit of nonsense”. MEL THOMPSON - Plato’s ideas fail to recognise the beauty and truth of our world DAWKINS - ideas surrounding the ‘Forms’ like beauty is simply ideas passed down through society. A.J.AYER - what we think is good is just our emotional reaction to it. HERACLITUS - “you can never step in the same river twice". KANT - believed in two realities - phenomenal world - sense experience- and - noumenal world - of things themselves DAVIES - you can see the forms like beauty - without the forms and the recognition of them then we would not be able to agree on theses ideas. DESCARTES - we can doubt everything but our mind - “I think therefore I am”


  • Aristotle was an empiricist (a posteriori) which means his view on reality is based on the five senses. He doesn't believe in two separate realms, we should focus on our world. He believed that everything has actuality and potential to be something i.e. a baby is actually a baby but has the potential to become an adult   He believed in aetion which means cause, its origin and how it is described ect From this he questioned causation and realised that things have multiple causes There must be a system which he called the four causes; material, formal, efficient and final cause. He also recognised purpose or telos - for Aristotle everything had and has a purpose. As a result of his observation he came to the conclusion that the world must have a courser - he called this the prime mover. The prime mover is not changeable, emotional,  in motion or continual The prime mover actualises the potential of everything else and everything attracts to the prime mover  It is necessary in existence, immutable nonphysical, impassive, perfect and eternal.                        Aristotle has a focus on purpose and causation which scholars like BERTRAND RUSSELL disagree as they claim it is by chance and the world is just “brute fact”. Another scholar to follow up on this is A.J.AYER who argues that we have limited knowledge and experience on causation therefore we cannot talk about a purpose or a course for the universe or world. Aristotle contradicts himself with his prime mover as he said that it is non-physical and so you cannot use the senses to verify it - he criticises Plato for the use of the non-physical yet he does the exact thing within his theory. Purpose is subjective not absolute DAWKINS - a final telos for humanity is ridiculous - he assume that what is true for some is true as a whole - guilty of the fallacy of composition Many scientists and thinkers such as DAWKINS are empiricists themselves and base their theories on observation AQUINAS bases a lot of his thinking from Aristotle and other Christian thinkers. His theory shows that science and religion can work together i.e the big bang. Most objects conform to the concept of the four causes Aristotle's theory is more rational than PLATO’S as it does not exclude empiricism

Overall comparison

neither Aristotle or Plato have a sound view on reality and they both have equally flawed theories. science ad understanding about the world has developed since ancient philosophy and so they're theories are out dated. However, both have some ideas that can be linked and or can be developed to modern standards.


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