Epistemologies; Plato vs. Aristotle Essay

675 Words Dec 22nd, 2011 3 Pages
Plato, the father of philosophy, was a rationalist. He was the first systematic metaphysician and epistemologist. He believed that we had innate knowledge; a priori. So to him learning was only a matter of remembering. Plato believed that the “ideal” world existed beyond our own physical earth because according to him realty could not be changing or imperfect. From his point of view what we see are only the particulars, the mimics of the real thing, therefore, we have to pull back from the world of peculiars and search in our own minds. Things like justice or moral virtues do not exist in this world in a proper form. In Crito & Meno we can clearly see these ideas. The essential argument in Crito is ‘The Many vs. The One’. Socrates says …show more content…
Aristotle on the other hand was an empiricist. He believed that we “learned” through our senses, by gathering knowledge from the world around us; “a posteriori”. By reading ‘On the soul’ and ‘Metaphysics’ we get a clear sense of Aristotle’s epistemology. Aristotle encourages embracing the particular in order to possibly gain a sense of the universal. According to Aristotle forms are the essence and when we combine form and matter we get human. The reading ‘On the Soul’ discusses that the body and the soul is not one, that sight allows us to absorb the world in very abstract ways and that memory is learning. In the reading ‘Metaphysics’ Aristotle sets forth causes for the explanation of change: Substance (essence), Matter (or substratum), Source of change and the cause opposed to this. Plato and Aristotle both believed in a universal purpose but the ways in which they got to these universal purposes were very different. Plato was an idealist, he despised the physical whereas Aristotle was a scientist, he loved facts and commonsense. Aristotle would argue that we gain knowledge after experience (a posteriori) but Plato would certainly disagree and say that we gain knowledge before experience (a priori). Plato believes that there is a world of ideas where ideas exist

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