Essay On Why I Think Plato Is One Of The Great
Professor Paul Carrick
17 November 2014
Why I Think Plato Is One Of The Greats
(1) What intrigues you about this philosopher you have chosen?
With the title “Philosopher King” and being the first archetype I had ever studied in my philosophical endeavors, Aristocles (but from here on out shall be recognized as Plato) captivated me from the beginning, and he captivates me nonetheless. Being fresh with curiosity and a sponge-like disposition, I soaked up the many principles and virtues of Plato’s epistemology and metaphysical concepts, and, to this day, I remember his works as vividly as I had when I first read them many weeks ago. His concepts appeared to me, at first, as original, radical, and intriguing. Today, …show more content…
Suggesting that truth was unchanging, Plato attempted to persuade that the only pure, universal constants were Platonic Forms by which we can only access through the mind (existing from us in a separate reality altogether, hence dualism) and, therefore, the things that we are capable of actually knowing are immaterial. Thus, he suggests that “real knowledge doesn’t come from sensation, but from pure reason” and that “spiritual well-being is more important than physical well-being” (Press 3). He profoundly altered my own concept of reality from things as they appear to things as they are: that the world of being (of “unexperienceable” entities called Forms) was reality, and that reality, as we know it, is merely an appearance. In this way, to Plato, wisdom is enlightenment, and “knowledge (reality) is superior to opinion (appearance)” (Soccio …show more content…
His understanding was this, “if he could identify and articulate the difference between mere opinion and genuine knowledge, it would then be possible to identify the structure of an ideal state based on knowledge and truth – rather than mere appearance of truth and personal whim” (Soccio 129). Plato was painfully aware of the reputation of philosophy during the time (seen as contradictory and absurd) and intended to create a solid foundation of knowledge and truth, which ended up, not only changing the opinions of philosophy during his time, but reframing how many individuals address philosophy today. He also recognized that the issue of knowledge must first be addressed and resolved before any further philosophical, political, or ethical answers could be offered. Thus, he aimed to develop a “theory of knowledge that could refute sophistic skepticism and moral relativism” (Soccio 129). This eventually led him to develop his dualistic solution and theory of Forms. From here, he used his basis of knowledge and truth to help answer how to create a good society (based on his hierarchy of needs/social classes) and subsequently how to create a good life for one’s self (by understanding the parts of the soul); the successfulness of both of these dependent on utilizing his four “cardinal virtues” (temperance, courage, wisdom, and justice).