Ancient Greek Philosophers

Jason Edwards-Suarez
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Jason Edwards-Suarez
Created by Jason Edwards-Suarez over 6 years ago
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A description and explanation of both Aristotle and Plato's ideas

Resource summary

Ancient Greek Philosophers
  1. Plato
    1. The forms
      1. Ideal
        1. Archetype for everything in our realm
          1. Transcendent
            1. Immortal
              1. Unchanging
                1. The Form of The Good is the ultimate form
                  1. Where our soul comes from and where it goes when we die
                  2. The Analogy of the Cave
                    1. In Plato's Republic book VII, Plato attempts to illustrate his theory of the forms by showing a dialogue involving his teacher Socrates. The analogy begins in a cave where a number of prisoners are bound by their necks and legs so that they cannot turn around. They have been this way since birth and know no other life than this. Behind the prisoners are a low wall, a walkway and a fire that burns. From time to time individuals carry objects like marionettes in front of the fire and shadows are cast against the wall in front of them. The prisoners observe the shadows that flicker before them and have developed a game over time. They try to predict the movements of the shadows. They associate the sounds made by the individuals with the shadows as this is all they know. They think of them as true reality.Plato asks us to imagine that one of the prisoners were to be set free. He would stand with some pain and become dazed and confused by the bright fire light.
                      1. He would struggle to adjust to his new view of the environment. He would quickly realise that the shadows he saw on the walls were not the real objects themselves. Plato suggests that if the prisoner were led to the entrance to the cave he would have to struggle up the steep and jagged rocks to climb out of the cave. Once outside the prisoner would further struggle to understand the new world that was around him. At first he would simply focus on the shadows that objects cast in the sun. But given time he would be able to see objects as they really are, in full shape and colour. Once the philosopher is enlightened Plato suggests that they will return to the cave to tell others of their enlightenment. He suggests that if the philosopher were to try to tell the others in the cave that there was a whole other world outside the cave they would laugh at them. If they persisted to try and convince them that this was the case then the prisoners would be prepared to kill them.
                      2. The Prisoners represent everyday people
                        1. The shackles that bind the prisoners represent the five sense
                          1. The shadows represent the false images, what we see in the realm of shadows
                            1. The fire represents the apparent good, or the false form of the good
                              1. The people who carry the objects represent the order of the time, in this case the Athenian Government
                                1. The difficult path out of the cave represents the difficult journey of enlightenment that every philosopher must travel
                                  1. The outside world represents the realm of the forms and the sun represents the form of the good
                                    1. The prisoners who reject the enlightened one represent people willing to kill in order to protect the false order they live in. In this case the Athenian Government.
                                    2. The Demiurge
                                      1. Responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe
                                        1. Discussed in dialogue by Timaeus
                                          1. Translates to craftsmen
                                            1. "Unreservedly benevolent"
                                              1. The world remains imperfect, however, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being.
                                              2. Considered un-created and eternal
                                            2. Aristotle
                                              1. The Prime Mover
                                                1. Exists by necessity
                                                  1. Pure actuality (has no potential to change)
                                                    1. Is the final cause (see four causes)
                                                      1. Is the goal of all action
                                                        1. "Unmoved mover"
                                                          1. Transcendent
                                                            1. Can be likened to a magnet
                                                              1. Described in Aristotle's writing, Metaphysics
                                                                1. Everything is in constant motion
                                                                  1. Heraclitus "You can never step in the same river twice"
                                                                2. The four causes with example of a house
                                                                  1. The formal cause
                                                                    1. The shape of an object, for example a cube with a triangle on top
                                                                      1. The difference between a mere collection of cells and a human body is that a human body has properties and functions that come from a particular arrangement of the right kind of cells doing the right kind of things.
                                                                    2. The efficient cause
                                                                      1. The designer of an object, for example and architect
                                                                        1. Efficient causes answer the “what did that” question, but do not answer how it was done.
                                                                      2. The material cause
                                                                        1. What the object is made of, for example bricks and glass
                                                                          1. The material cause also explains the general sort of properties of something. Wooden boxes burn because they are made out of wood.
                                                                        2. The final cause
                                                                          1. The ultimate purpose of the object, for example to provide shelter and be lived in
                                                                            1. Why do balls break windows? The final cause says that because balls are hard and windows are brittle, they break.
                                                                        3. OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE
                                                                          1. The third man argument
                                                                            1. A criticism of Plato's realm of the forms, it argues that everything in the realm of the forms must be based off of something else, a form of a form. Then this form of a form must also be based off of something else and since there cannot be an infinite chain of forms, due to self contradiction, Plato's theory no longer works
                                                                            2. The soul and the analogy of the knife
                                                                              1. Aristotle believed that after death the soul also died.
                                                                                1. The analogy of the knife is one that Aristotle uses to illustrate his point about the soul. He argues that once a knife is bluntened it is dead as it can no longer fulfill its purpose. Aristotle links this to the soul, once the soul no longer has a body it can no longer fulfill its purpose and dies.
                                                                                2. Heavily influence St Thomas Aquinas
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