Plato's philosophy


An explanation of Plato's idea of the Forms and the Demiurge
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Created by Sumahlor almost 9 years ago

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Plato's philosophy
  1. Where did Plato's ideas come from?
    1. The Sophists
      1. Earlier Greek philosophers - followers of relative ethics, believed in no one true morality. Plato disagreed with them.
      2. Socrates
        1. Plato's teacher, who was killed because of a democratic election. Plato therefore disagreed with democracy
      3. The Forms
        1. We live in a world of appearances. The real world is that of the Forms
          1. Forms are the eternal, perfect idea of what a thing is
          2. We have immortal souls which remember the Forms - a dualistic belief
            1. Metempsychosis - the rebirth of the soul
              1. Education is about remembering the Forms
              2. The highest Form is the Form of the Good, the source of all other Forms, existence and perfection
                1. It allows us to understand and assess things. We require knowledge to see it
              3. The Analogy of the Cave
                1. Explains the idea of the Forms
                  1. Chained prisoners believe the shadows they see are reality
                    1. One who is brought out of the cave sees the real world and the sun
                      1. But the other prisoners do not believe him when he tells them about them
                    2. Prisoners in the cave are people in the world of appearances
                      1. Prisoner who leaves the cave is a philosopher who learns about the Forms
                    3. The Divided Line
                      1. This idea appears in Plato's book 'The Republic'
                        1. On one side is subjective opinion, on the other is objective knowledge
                          1. On the 'opinion' side are images and objects, and on the 'objective' side are thoughts and ideals
                            1. Knowledge is superior to opinion
                              1. But only philosophers are on that side of the line
                          2. For and against the Forms
                            1. For
                              1. A dualist will support it
                                1. Physical and mental properties do seem to be different (physical can be seen, mental cannot)
                                  1. It explains how we have concepts of unteachable, abstract concepts such as love and wisdom
                                    1. It explains how objects that can be vastly different in appearance (eg dogs and chairs) are all recognisably the same thing
                                      1. 'Bad' Forms, eg those of evil and disease, could be explained as an absence of good Forms
                                        1. It seems impossible, but Plato says that most people will believe that
                                          1. Explains imperfections in the world
                                          2. Against
                                            1. Relativists and theists will not accept it
                                              1. Plato says change is bad - you may not agree
                                                1. Are there forms of bad things? How could they be perfect?
                                                  1. Self-containing forms - eg the Form of a triangle, and the Form of a line?
                                                    1. How detailed? Form of a black cat, a tabby cat, a ginger cat, etc?
                                                      1. What about people who have learning disabilities and can't be philosophers?
                                                        1. Plato gives no satisfactory explanation for where and what they are
                                                          1. Dawkins's criticism: ideas exist in people's minds
                                                            1. Aristotle's criticism: We gain knowledge from experience
                                                              1. Plato's self-criticisms: How do the Forms interact with the physical world?
                                                                1. What about actual things like viruses which cause suffering?
                                                              2. Keywords
                                                                1. Metempsychosis
                                                                  1. Dualism
                                                                    1. A priori
                                                                      1. Epistemology
                                                                      2. The Demiurge
                                                                        1. Plato's idea of God
                                                                          1. 'Sculpts' the world out of pre-existing chaotic matter
                                                                            1. Brings order
                                                                              1. Uses the perfect Forms as a template
                                                                                1. The world is not perfect because the chaotic matter resists his will
                                                                                  1. Is not the source of morality - that is the Forms
                                                                                    1. Is not involved with the universe
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