Ancient Philosophical Influences

What did Socrates encourage?
Questioning of commonly held assumptions
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What eventually happened to him?
He was arrested and put to death
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Plato began writing as a way to keep whose memory alive?
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When he returned to Athens what did he use his money to found?
A school called the Academy
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What did he believe the world was always in?
A state of change and process which means they can never be the objects of true knowledge
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What did this lead him to believe?
That there must be another realm called the 'realm of the Forms'
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Give an example of this relating to a clock?
We can see clocks and recognise their circularity, but they can never be perfect circles. The 'Form of the circle' is a perfect circle
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What happens when this Form is translated into the physical world?
It looses some of its perfection
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How are the objects we encounter different from the Forms?
They are different and inferior and the Forms are eternal
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Because we make judgements about things in the physical world based on the concepts it means...
We must have experienced them- we must have immortal souls which have lived in the realm of the forms before being born into the physical world as human beings
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Do they exist within time and space?
No they are simply concepts rather than things
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How are the forms arranged?
In a hierarchy
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What is the most important form?
The Form of the Good
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They illuminate all the other forms and give them value e.g. wisdom, courage and beauty because they are all aspects of goodness
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Forms lower in the hierarchy are what?
More specific and related to material objects e.g. the Form of the Blue
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According to Plato a philosopher is someone who...
loves (philos) knowledge (sophia)
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What does he believe love involves
action not passivity, someone who loves knowledge should put it into action- this is why there should be philosopher kings
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What does he believe caused immorality and how can this be solved?
ignorance of what is good, if people became more philosiphical and looked for the Form of the good they would make better moral decisions
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Who did Plato believe the world was created by?
God called Demiurge
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How did he make it?
Made it by fashioning the materials that where already there, but it was a shapeless mass before he began work
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The name Demiurge comes from the Greek word for what?
craftsman or workman
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Where did he write the analogy of the cave?
The Republic
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What relationship does he want us to understand?
relationship between physical world and the higher world of forms
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What hostility does he want us to understand?
The hostility of people when faced with ideas that challenge previously held believes
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He wants to understand what injustice?
The injustice of Socrates death
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He describes education as what?
'leading out'- not stuffing peoples minds with information but drawing-out things and encouraging them to become new types of people
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Plato presents the cave through a dialogue between which people?
Socrates and a man called Glaucoma
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Describe the position of the prisoners in the cave
Chained facing in one direction. The light is behind them which they cannot see. Between the fire and prisoners, behind them, there is low wall like the edge of a puppet theatre
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how is the low wall used?
People go along the wall carrying objects which cast shadows to the wall in front of the prisoners. 'men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels'
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What sounds do the prisoners hear?
echoes and voices, but they cannot distinguish the voices from the echoes and so cannot tell the difference between appearance and reality
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Can they rely on their senses?
No, nothing they perceive with their senses give them true information- a priori
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How will they react to the real objects when they see them?
They will not recognise the actual objects that were making the shadows and think the shadows are 'more real' than the objects themselves
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How will they been pained when leaving the cave?
pain because his muscles have been unused in so long. Glare from the fire hurts his eyes. When we start to realise whats real and illusory we realise we were wrong which is a painful experience.
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What is the path to the mouth of the cave described as and why?
'steep' and 'rugged' as a metaphor for his struggles
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What happens after this original experience of pain?
Begin to adjust to the light. Their knowledge grow and they begin to realise the sun is illuminating all other knowledge
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What is the sun a metaphor for and why?
the form of the good, the cave shadows are what we witness when we are ignorant of the Form of the Good
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What happens when the former prisoner returns to the cave?
enlightened man finds darkness a struggle. other prisoners decide they're better where they are and are prepared to kill him rather than leave the cave
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What is this a metaphor for?
The dangers Socrates faced when trying to bring philosophy to others. Socrates is the prisoner and the people who put him to death are the ignorant prisoners who prefer to live an 'unexamined' life.
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Why does Plato think people refuse philosophy?
They are scared they will end up with more questions than answers and consider themselves less knowledgeable
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What are some strengths of the theory of forms?
-We all have intuitive knowledge of what goodness is -explains imperfections in the world -explains our recognition of new things -opens minds to new possibilities
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What are some specific arguments against the forms?
-Aristotle's third man argument -Three fingers argument- form of mediumness for 4th finger? Form of smallness compared to middle finger and form of largeness compared to the ring finger?
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what are some other arguments against the forms?
-Form of plant-big leaves? small leaves? -Form of evil? (he argued its the 'absence of good' but doesn't this work vice versa e.g. good as absence of bad -Form of good, but is it only good because its compared to bad and not a thing in itself
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How did Aristotle differ from Plato?
He thought the physical world around us is the key to knowledge. The thought empirical a posteriori knowledge was important
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What is aetion?
describes what something looks like, what it's made of, and what caused it to be
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What are the four causes?
Material cause, formal cause, efficient cause and final cause
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What is the material cause? (using the example of a chair with all of them)
what something is made of, eg the chair is made from wood
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What is the formal cause?
The shape something has that means it can be identified eg the chair has a seat and 4 legs
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What is the efficient cause?
The name to the activity that makes something happen, eg the carpenter who made the chair
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What is the final cause?
Something's telos or purpose eg the chair is for sitting at
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What did he think was the efficient cause and final cause of the universe?
the Prime Mover
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Why did he reject the idea of an endless chain of cause and effect?
not a satisfactory solution
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What does the prime mover do to everything else?
Actualises potential in everything.
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Why can't the prime mover have potential itself?
So that it cannot be changed or acted upon
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How does the prime mover cause motion?
by attracting things to it, everything in the universe is drawn to its perfection
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What kind of existence does he have?
a necessary existence
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Why must he be eternal?
because of his lack of potential, if he cannot change then he cannot cease to be. He must have always existed
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Why must he be perfectly good?
because badness relates to a lacking in something, he must be perfect and contain everything he ought to have
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Why must he be immaterial and beyond space and time?
all matter can be acted on and so he cannot be made of matter. He must be pure spiritual thought. Not thinking about anything means he can't change- must only think of himself and his own perfect nature
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What is the prime mover the final cause of?
must be the origin and cause of everything that exists in the universe.
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Why is Aristotle's work difficult to evaluate?
It lacks clarity. They may just be lecture notes that aren't made for publication
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How are the prime mover and form of the good similar?
both necessary existence. Both don't take an interest in moral affairs. Both permanent and unchanging. Both influential on Christianity
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How are they different?
Form of good is perfect source of goodness. Prime mover as ultimate cause of everything. Form of the good has no action and Prime Mover draws thing to it. Prime mover more to do with motion and Form of Good more to do with motion
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How is a priori (reason) effective?
Physical world changes so cannot be the route to knowledge. Truths through reason have an unshaking and definite quality. Not limited to senses. Can be more certain of conclusions
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How is a posteriori (observation) effective?
Primary source of knowledge is experience through senses. Wise people have travelled widely and experienced lots.
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Briefly explain Aristotle's view on the soul
The soul is not a separable from the body. It is a continuing identity which stays the same and makes the person who they are. It is the formal cause of human beings
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What eventually happened to him?


He was arrested and put to death

Card 3


Plato began writing as a way to keep whose memory alive?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


When he returned to Athens what did he use his money to found?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What did he believe the world was always in?


Preview of the front of card 5
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