Plato

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  • Created by: sumbum999
  • Created on: 06-11-18 14:21

PLATO - Summary Notes

Rationalism

Plato is thought to be the first great rationalist philosopher, whom opposed empiricism, as he believed certain truths about the universe were only knowable through reason/the mind alone, rather than observation. 

He believed that reason is the best part of humanity, which animals lack. In Plato's mind, if we always reason properly then we will always know the right way to live our lives. The reason why people do bad things, such as murder, steal or abuse, is because they have not used their reason properly, and are therefore carried away by their emotions, leading them to do bad things. 

Theory of Forms

The forms are ideal, eternal singular versions of things that are found on the Earth, whether this be a cake, table or the concept of beauty. They are found in the realm of Forms, which is above our material world as a wholly spiritual realm. In Plato's terms, only the Forms can be desrcibed as reality, as they are the only things which are truly real.

According to plato, our souls naturally belong in the Realm of Forms, having been seperated and then trapped in material bodies. This triggers forgetfulness, hence why we do not remember the world of forms, and instead only have glimpses of it, often mistakenly identifying different things as 'perfect' (they aren't actually perfect, rather a reflection of their true form). Because of this, education is not teaching children knew things, rather bringing out the knowledge which is already there but had been forgotten.

There are two realms of existence according to Plato; The Realm of Forms and The Realm of Appearances.

Within the Realm of Forms, there is a hierachy of Forms. At the top of the heirachy is the Form of the Good, which is the highest form that enlightens the rational mind. There is then the Higher Forms, which are concepts such as beauty, justice and love. Below this finally is Individual Forms, which are mainly the forms of material objects, such as the Form of a Chair or stapler. These forms are perfect visions of inferior things in the Realm of Appearances. Eternity is also part of the Forms perfection, as something that is perfect cannot be destroyed. 

You may love the beauty of art or good cake, but have you ever asked what beauty is itself?

The Forms and Us

Because of the different knowledge people have regarding the forms…

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