Plato – Epistemology

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Plato – Epistemology

? Plato was born in Athens in 428/27 BCE, one year after death of Pericles. ? His father traced his lineage to the old kings of Athens and before them to the god Posiedon. ? His, mother Perictione, was the sister of Chramides and the cousin of Critias. ? In such a family atmosphere, Plato learned much about public life and developed at an early age a sense of responsibility for public political service. ? Around 387 BCE, when he was about 40 yrs. Old, Plato founded the Academy at Athens.

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE • The Cave • The Dividend Line ? Plato provides more detail about levels of knowledge that we can obtain ? These objects and their parallel types of thought can be diagram as follows: Types of Objects y Thought |The Good, Forms |Intelligence | |Mathematical |Thinking | |Objects | | |Things |Belief | |Images |Imagining | Imagining ? The most superficial form of mental activity is found at the lowest level of the line. ? The three levels of reality here are, then 1.

The form of Humanness 2. The embodiment of this Form in Socrates 3. The image of Socrates as represented on canvass Belief ? The next stage after imagining is belief. ? It may strike us as strange that Plato should use the word believing instead of knowing to describe the state of mind induced by seeing actual objects. Thinking ? When we move from believing to thinking, we move from the visible world to the intelligible world and from the realm of opinion to the realm of knowledge Perfect Intelligence

? To have a perfect knowledge would require that we grasp the relation of everything to everything else-that we see the unity of the whole of reality. Plato Summary Statement: “Now you may take, a corresponding to the four sections, these four states of mind: intelligence for the highest, thinking for the second, belief for the third and for the last imagining. These you may arrange as the terms in a proportion, assigning to each a degree of clearness and certainty, corresponding to the measure in which their object possess truth and reality”.

THEORY OF FORMS ? Plato’s theory of the Forms is his most significant philosophical contribution. ? There are atleast five questions that we might ask about the forms: What are the forms? ? In his Symposium Plato states that we normally grasp beauty first of all in a particular object or person. But having discovered beauty in his limited form, we soon “perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to another”, and so we move from the beauty of a particular body to the recognition that beauty” in every form is one the same”.

Where do the forms Exist? ? Plato’s clearest suggestion on this problem is that the Forms are “separate” from concrete things, that they exist “ apart from the things we see. What Is the Relation of Forms to Each other? ? A Form can be related to a thing in three ways: o The Form is the cause of the essence of a thing. o A thing may be said to participate in a form. o A thing may be said to imitate or copy a form. What is the Relation of forms to each other?

? Plato says that “We can have discourse only through the weaving together of Forms. ” How do we know the forms? ? Plato mentions at least three different ways in which our minds discover the Forms. o There is recollection o People arrive to the knowledge of forms through the activity of dialectic. o There is a power of desire or love (eros) ———————– Intelligible World Visible World Knowledge Opinion.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 November 2016

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