Plato from the beginning


- Plato had a huge impact on the history of Western thought

- He formulated methods and terminology of philosphising that is still used today

- Plato is as relevant today as he was when he was alive

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- Plato was anxious for the fall of athens therefore turned to philosophy to voice his concerns

- He was greatly influenced by his mentor Socrates

- There is little known about him although we know he was deliberatly provacative

- He was placed on trial as many thought he was corrupting the youth and then he was condemed to death

- Plato wrote down a lot of his ideas

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The Republic

- This book set standards and boundaries for western philosophy

- The state was seen as a tool to educate and nurture developing individual behaviour

- The right way to live has a much broader meaning in that it covers all aspects of life

- How should i live my life?

- There is the belief what there is the knowledge of what is right and its not an opinion or values

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The Analogy of the Cave

- In the cave are a group of prisoners

- They see shadows of objects

- A prisoner is let loose

- It gets used to the burning light and can finally see

- The prisoner must experience the ENLIGHTENMENT

- He returns to the cave but knows he may die trying to question the other prisoners cherished beliefs

- The released prisoner is representing Socrates

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The Realm of the Forms

- What is essential is invisible to the eye, there is an everyday world and ‘another’ world that is hidden and more beautiful

- People are trapped in this illusory world of our senses

- The real world is invisible, it lies beyond our senses

- How do we know it is imperfect?

- There is a form for everything

-  Forms are perfection

- We learn through experience we are born with knowledge already

- We need to be guided towards the knowledge, True philosophers have knowledge of the forms

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The Form of the Good

- The sun in the Analogy represents the from of the Good

- It is the source of all things

- It gives everything value and purpose

- God becomes the form of the Good : He is the source, perfect, eternal and invisible

- The FORMS are truth and reality

- The PARTICULARS : the world of senses


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Criticisms of the Forms

- Plato was a dualist

- What is the nature of the forms? One form for the whole planet? Forms within a form?

- A from is unique but again he does not really defend why it is unique

- Forms with knowlede, particulars with opinions

- Can there really be ulitmate moral standards

- Is theis a realistic viwe of human nature?

- Only the elite few will be capable of percieving the forms

- Knowledge is relative: it does not matter what is true but what you are persuaded to believe

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