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Plato and Aristotle Essay

1. What are the major differences between Plato and Aristotle? Make sure you provide examples.

Basically, Plato and Aristotle are highly different in their philosophical beliefs and their various teachings.  The main philosophy of Aristotle is to possess virtue in order to achieve the ultimate goal which is happiness. In order for people to possess virtue, he also believed that everything should be done in moderation only and not too sparse or too excessive. On the other hand, Plato used logic and dialogue as his main tools together with the aid of mathematics in order to arrive with rational conclusions so as to know the universal truth.

Moreover, Aristotle strongly believed that acts of good must be habituated in order to become a virtue while Plato believed that merely knowing what is good is enough to be able to do good even without actually doing it. Another major difference between the two is their beliefs in metaphysics. Plato’s believed that there are higher or ideal forms that can only be acquired through knowledge while Aristotle believed that form and matter are inextricably bound and coexist.

2. Are you a Platonist or an Aristotelian? Provide specific examples to help illustrate your points.

I am basically a Platonist simply because there are more of this teachings that are applicable today than Aristotle such as his theory of the universal ideal forms. For example, when looking for an ideal friend, that person I am searching for must possess the qualities that I desire.

However, it is a well-known truth that there is no such thing as “perfect” or “ideal.” But since I know what an ideal friend is, I now have a pattern which I will use as a basis as I search for my ideal friend. I may not be able to find that person but I would definitely meet someone close to that, which is like the shadows that Plato described in the Allegory of the Cave. In addition, I know that the both the sky and a pair of blue jeans are both color blue. Although, in reality, they are not of the same color, I somehow have an idea of what blue is because it preexists in my mind.

 Another reason that I also consider myself as a Platonist is because I do not believe in Aristotle’s idea that by possessing virtue, once can achieve happiness. For me, his belief is too idealistic, although his use of formal logic and scientific methods such as deduction and observation is still applicable today.


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