Rene Descartes, Epictetus And Plato: The Meaning Of Life

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As people mature, they begin to ponder about what the meaning of life is, particularly their own life, and they wonder what good knowledge truly is. It is a natural curiosity and has been thought about for several centuries. Philosophers claim to know, or at least be fairly aware of, what the meaning of life is and why attaining knowledge is imperative. Three that come to mind are Rene Descartes, Epictetus, and Plato; these three philosophers have lived through different time periods and differ greatly in theories. Descartes had no true theory but used skepticism to establish his philosophy, Epictetus was a Stoic, and Plato was a Platonist. One, Descartes, lived questioning anything and everything to only be sure of two existences near the …show more content…
In fact, in Phaedo, he goes into detail about why the separation of the body and soul is a positive thing; the reason being is that the soul is now free from desires and false perceptions that the body was making (Plato, 106). The only reason one must live righteously, according to Plato, is because this lessens the obstacles the soul would have encountered due to the body. Plato recognizes that all people have faults, but people need to realize what their mistake was and work towards improving themselves by gaining knowledge. The dialogues represent this through Socrates’ experience with Euthyphro, Meno, and Crito; Euthyphro was prosecuting his father because he thought it was pious, but he did not understand what true piety is which is why Socrates had to guide him by asking genuine questions about what piety is. In Meno, Plato discusses what type of knowledge can be taught and what good knowledge is; Socrates corrects Meno’s thinking and leaves him to ruminate about knowledge and virtue. In addition, Plato also explains the importance of living accordingly to society’s rules and why the soul is affected if one were to break these rules, in his dialogue …show more content…
These dialogues are also interrelated which furthers his theory because in each progression he gives more reasons to why attaining knowledge is crucial to living. On the contrary, Plato does not have a flat out theory in these dialogues, but unlike Descartes, the messages of his theories are clear. With that being said, another reason as to why Plato holds a genuine philosophical theory is because he allows the other person to contemplate on their opinions as well as the opinions he presented. This varies to Epictetus because Epictetus would say that there is only one way to think about life and knowledge and that is through God’s eyes, Plato, however, would allow a person to have their own opinions but his input will guide them to think about a better way of living and to acquire

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