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what are the two worlds for Plato

-the material world (the world of appearances)
-the world of the forms


what is the material world like for Plato ?

-consists of physical objects
-it is the world we experience through our senses
-it is in constant change so we can't know the true reality of it
-we can only have opinions about the reality of this world
-the objects we experience are particulars (a reflection of its perfect form in the world of the forms)
-our knowledge is a prior (knowledge that doesn't require experience to be know to be true)


explain why Plato thinks we have souls

-we recognise when something is not perfect because we can remember the original ideal since we know the forms innately
-our souls remember the original perfect copies from the world of ideals.
-Socrates used the example of a slave who solved maths problems using Pythagoras theorem even though he had never been taught it


what is the Ancient Greek topic about?

-how do we know ?
-what is real?


what is the world of the forms like ?

-accessed through reasons rather than sense
-nothing changes as this world consist of original perfect ideals
-forms are perfect, eternal and immutable


why did Plato come up with the analogy of the cave

-to show a contrast between people who mistake the physical world for the truth (the prisoners) by relying on their senses, and those who really do see the truth (the philosophers who use their reason)


explain the analogy of the cave in detail

1. Prisoners chained in cave so can only see wall in front of them. behind them which casts shadows on the wall

3. people carry objects on the outside of the cave which provide shadows -prisoners assume this is all there is to life, they have no philosophical insight.

4. 1 prisoner is set free. Finds it difficult to move and light from sun is dazzling. Illustrating how the first response to philosophical questioning is puzzlement

5. he is able to see the real world and draw true conclusions

6. he begins to understand that the world depends on the sun for its existence

7. when he returns to the cave the prisoners laugh at him and think he is being stupid.

The cave represents how knowledge gained through the senses is misleading


explain the hierarchy of the forms

1. the form of good
2. justice and beauty
3.forms of abstract ideas and mathematical reasoning (considered to be true knowledge gained through reason and understanding)
4.material objects and opinion in the world of appearance which is believed through the sense


6 criticisms of platos ideas

- are there forms for bad things? e.g. a nuclear bomb

-there is no empirical evidence of the existence of another world outside of our senses

-if there is one absolute form of the good, why do we disagree over right and wrong? what is good?

-is knowledge really innate like Plato suggests? doesn't learning seem more difficult than simply remembering.

-the theory of the forms is unclear. We don't know if each species of plant has its own form, or if there is one form of plant in general


explain Aristotle's third man argument against platos ideas

-for something to be a perfect form, it must have all the attributes of the being.
-therefore, since it has all the attributes of the being, it would have to BE the being and not just a perfect form of the being.


3 strengths of platos ideas

-argument from rationalism not empiricism. The senses deceive us. E.g. when a pen is in a glass of water it seems bent. True knowledge is accessed through reason alone.

-we do seem to understand what falls short of goodness or have an innate understanding of beauty and justice. E.g. why do we think things are unfair?

-Plato has had a great influence on philosophy -arguments from rationalism. Impacted on chrIstsinjty during the Renaissance.


Brain Davies supports Plato. What does he think?

-without the forms we wouldn't be able to discuss on general features of the real world, such as beauty or justice, because we would have no recognition of what these particulars look like


for Aristotle knowledge is based on what?

- a posteriori
-didn't believe there was too separate worlds but instead that the world we live in is the only place in which we can have true knowledge because it is based on our senses


explain Aristotle's ideas

-'form' is the structure and characteristic of something

-all things have form (characteristics, structure, or shape) and substance (matter)


what are Aristotle's four causes

-material cause (what it's made of)
-formal cause (shape or characteristic)
-efficient cause (how it came into existence)
-final cause (it's purpose/telos)


explain Aristotle ideas on purpose

-everything in the universe has a purpose or final cause

-the telos is part of the object itself, it is intrinsic

-something is good if it fulfils its end purpose


explain what Aristotle meant by actuality and potentiality

-everything is the physical world is in an 'actual' state but has potential to become something else

-e.g. an acorn is potentially an oak tree and an embryo is potentially a mature human being

-everything in the physical world is constantly changing (in a state of flux)

-e.g. i am getting older


why did Aristotle postulate a prime mover

because all this movement (motus) must be caused by something


why can't the prime mover be an efficient cause ?

because it must remain unmoved itself


what are the characteristics of the prime mover

-immutable (unchanging)
-necessary being (doesn't depend on anything else for its existence)
-pure actuality
-the final cause of all motus
-no potential to change
-absolute goodness as it is unchangeable/ can't be corrupted
-indivisible ( cannot be separated )


in order to explain motus, the prime mover...?

must draw movement by attraction, rather than push by a conscious act


Example of how Aristotle's prime mover works

like a saucer of milk draws a cat to it without being changed itself


for Aristotle, what is the cause of all moment ?

desire and love for this unmoved mover, God


why does Aristotle describe the prime mover as thought itself

because the prime mover cannot be matter but instead it is spiritual.

it cannot know of the existence of the physical world as this might cause change so the prime mover must only think about itself


Aristotle understood the universe to be...?

eternal-it had no beginning or efficient cause


what is Aristotle's picture of the universe ?

a series of concentric circles, all being drawn towards the unmoved prime mover


explain the criticism of Aristotle's use of empiricism

-no proof that his a posteriori method of gaining knowledge is the only true one

-why should sense experience be the only source of true knowledge ?

-our senses can deceive us. E.g. a pencil in a glass of water appears bent


explain the weakness that Aristotle's claim that everything which exists does so for a purpose could be challenged

-Bertrand Russell called the universe a 'brute fact'.

-Albert Camus and other existentialists would claim that the universe and life itself is 'absurd' - it has no meaning or purpose of any kind

-not everything has a purpose. E.g. the appendix

-even if parts have a purpose, the whole may not. (fallacy of composition e.g. the human body)

-having a purpose is a mental process: humans decided the purpose of objects; purpose is not intrinsically part of the object as Aristotle claimed


explain a problem of Aristotle's four causes

-they can't be applied to everything
-e.g. what are the four causes of beauty?


explain a problem with Aristotle's prime mover

-if the primer mover is pure thought, thinking about thought, how can there be any casual connection with the physical world - as there must be if it is to affect and move it.

- perhaps the universe came about by chance rather than because of any prime mover