Plato: Knowledge Essay
We all continue to learn new things in life day in by day out; incessantly increasing our knowledge is essential to sustain man’s life path on this earth. Knowledge can be sought in different ways but to truly seek knowledge, one has to read, understand through experience and believe what the word of God says about faith. Acquiring knowledge through our five senses and faith, both give us insight on competing ways of getting at the truth. A person who reads, write and believes in the word of God will become rich with knowledge but the latter will not.
Moreover, in order to achieve knowledge, one has to be taught it or teach him or herself (because humans are not born with the ability of knowing; they must acquire it) through observation and reasoning through faith. Different views exhibit on how knowledge is achieved. One may say through common sense and observation, while another may say through teachers and peers. According to the philosopher Plato in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, “Certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blindness.
The power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being. ” In making this comment, this Greek philosopher argues that, everyone has the capacity to learn because knowledge is present in the soul thus we all can acquire knowledge and wisdom by recollecting and putting together what in fact the soul already knows.
Plato is right that humans have the aptitude to gain knowledge, but he seems on more dubious ground when he claims that knowledge is already present in one’s soul. I find this to be unconvincing because humans seek education to learn something which they didn’t already know. For example an adolescent may ponder upon why the hairs on his arms and legs grow very short while the opposite occurs on his or her head. But through an education in biology in his or her later years, he or she will come to find out that each hair follicle on one’s body part will grow different depending on where it is located on the body part.
The young adolescent never had this knowledge about hair follicles till he was taught it. So therefore, knowledge doesn’t already exist in the soul. One has to gain it in order to have it but we all have the ability to achieve it if we put in effort. In regards to observation, reasoning through faith must also be looked into to fully attain the knowledge that is essential to lead the best life and attain happiness. Observations only gives us half of the knowledge we need to acquire, faith gives us the rest.
In Scully’s view from the X-Files, “As much as I have my faith, Father, I am a scientist, trained to weigh evidence. But science only teaches us how… not why. ” In other words, Scully is saying that, knowledge without faith leads us only half way… we have to come full circle in order to completely gain absolute knowledge. I agree that this statement is true because without faith, one’s knowledge is worthless. For example, before Copernicus, most scientists believed that the earth was the center of the universe, thus the sun revolved around the earth.
But through faith and reasoning, Copernicus came to conclude that it was rather the earth that revolved around the sun, making the universe we live in heliocentric; and his jurisdiction is held to be true till this day. The two concepts go hand in hand; one cannot achieve absolute knowledge without faith and reasoning/observation. In order to achieve knowledge through faith, we must walk through the ways of our spiritual leader. In The Francis Trilogy of Thomas of Celano, Thomas of Celano writes, “Ah!
Inclined and strengthened by the Holy Spirit the blessed servant of the Most High, seeing that the appointed time was at hand, followed that blessed impulse of his soul. Thus, as he trampled upon worldly things, he made his way to the greatest good. ” In other words, Thomas of Celano is saying that, St. Francis detached himself from matters of the world by following Christ, who fortified him with the Holy Cross and the Holy Spirit enabling him to transform his worldly ways to resemble the will of God, thus St. Francis gained his faith through the knowledge of the word of God.
In order for St. Francis to have faith, he had to have knowledge of God, which he acquired through his experience; asking God for enlightenment and through the visions he had that directed his will to God’s. Reason and faith leads to wisdom and knowledge, without it, the knowledge that one acquires is corrupt and useless. Others may disagree saying that one can still have knowledge without faith, but knowledge without faith leads you nowhere because you still haven’t really gained full understanding of the subject matter.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 26 November 2016
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