Lecture 5 plato
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Lecture 5: Plato. Today’s Lecture. In Today’s lecture we will: Recap what we learned about Plato’s theory of reality in lecture Clarify Plato’s argument for the existence of eternal forms Investigate Plato’s ‘Divided Line’ Investigate Plato’s allegory of the cave

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Lecture 5: Plato

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Lecture 5 plato

Lecture 5: Plato


Today s lecture

Today’s Lecture

In Today’s lecture we will:

Recap what we learned about Plato’s theory of reality in lecture

Clarify Plato’s argument for the existence of eternal forms

Investigate Plato’s ‘Divided Line’

Investigate Plato’s allegory of the cave

Consider some criticisms of Plato’s theory of reality

Briefly Consider Some alternatives

Conclude our investigation into Plato’s theory of reality


Recap

Recap


Topic recap

  • The question of reality (Metaphysics)

  • What is reality?

  • What are things made of?

  • What is the ultimate?

  • What is it that everything depends on for its existence?

  • What is really real?

  • How do we distinguish between what is real and what is mere illusion?

  • The problem of the one and the many

  • What is the ultimate reality (the One)?

  • How is everything else (the Many) related to the One?

Topic Recap


Topic recap1

  • Ontological options

  • Ontology is the study of what exists, what is real etc.

  • Ontology is a branch of metaphysics.

  • Most theories of reality maintain one of the following ontological beliefs:

    • Monism

    • The belief that reality is composed of one thing.

    • Dualism

    • The belief that reality is composed of two things.

    • Pluralism

    • The belief that reality is composed of many things.

    • Nihilism

    • The view that nothing exists

Topic Recap


Topic recap2

  • In answer to the question; what is reality? Plato answers:

  • Reality is composed of Two distinct worlds:

    • The Space-Time world of BECOMING (the world according to the senses)

    • The transcendent world of BEING (a world not experienced by the five senses but still related to the world of Becoming)

  • Objects in each world exhibits the following characteristics:

Topic Recap

Objective

Transcendent

Eternal

Intelligible

Archetypal

Perfect

Transcendent world of BEING

Space-Time world of BECOMING

Subjective

Spatiotemporal

Changeable

Sensible

Copied

Imperfect


Topic recap3

  • In answer to the question; what is reality? Plato answers:

  • The space-time world of Becoming is full of Sensible objects (we can sense them)

  • The transcendent world of Being is furnished with Forms (or Ideas) which impart essence onto worldly objects

  • Forms are related to objects by:

    • The extent something reflects the True form

    • The extent something participates in the True form

    • Plato divides between Higher Forms (things without physical manifestation) and Lower Forms (things that manifest physically)

Topic Recap

Form (Idea) chairs

Transcendent world of BEING

Space-Time world of BECOMING


Some clarification

...some clarification


Clarification of plato s reasoning

  • Clarification of Plato’s reasoning (the problem of universals)

  • Heraclitus:

    • There is no One Unchanging Thing except change; the world undergoes constant changes (Heraclitus)

  • The Problem:

    • Plato: Option 1 leads to impossible conclusions (we could not know or discuss anything). But we do know some things and talk about them.

  • Plato’s Assumption:

    • There must be One Unchanging Thing or knowledge and discussion (language) would be impossible.

  • Plato’s Conclusion:

    • What is this One? Transcendent, eternal , unchanging Forms in the world of Being

Clarification of Plato’s Reasoning


The divided line

The Divided Line


Plato s divided line

Plato’s Divided Line

Epistemology(Thought)

Metaphysics

(Objects)

D

C

B

A

Higher Forms

Understanding

Being(Intelligible World)

Knowledge

Mathematical Forms

Reason

Sensible Objects

Perception

Opinion

Becoming

(Visible World)

Images

Imagination


The allegory of the cave

The Allegory of the Cave


Plato s cave

Hierarchy of Plato’s Theory of Reality

Higher Forms

Mathematical Forms

Lower Forms

Sensible Objects

Images

Plato’s Cave

The Good

The Form of the Good is the ultimate Form and the source of all knowledge and existence

Each being is derived from the next being up


Plato s cave1

Plato’s Cave

SUN

In

VISIBLE WORLD

By its

LIGHT

Cause of

SIGHT

And existence of objects and sight

GOOD

In

INTELLIGIBLE WORLD

By its

TRUTH

Cause of

KNOWLEDGE

And existence of objects of knowledge (Forms)

Analogous to

(Textbook, P. 69)


Plato s cave2

Plato’s Cave


Criticisms of plato

Criticisms of Plato


Criticisms of plato1

  • Some objections that were raised in regards to Plato’s theory of reality:

  • What is the relationship between Forms and objects?

    • For example, if I invent something is a new form created?

  • Possible answer: Forms do not come into or out of existence (they are eternal) so when we ‘invent’ something we are merely copying a Form which already existed

  • But! Plato does not give us a clear explanation.

  • Do we really need something like the forms to explain how we recognize a chair as a chair?

    • For example, we are taught what is and isn’t a chair; different cultures have different understandings of what different things are.

  • Isn’t there a simpler way to explain how we can know the essence of an object?

    • Ockham’s Razor (p.77): “Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity”

  • Criticisms of Plato


    Criticisms of plato2

    The ‘Third-Man- Argument

    Aristotle raises the follow problem:

    Criticisms of Plato

    To explain the similarities between Person 1 and 2 we need a third person


    Criticisms of plato3

    The ‘Third-Man- Argument

    Aristotle raises the follow problem:

    Criticisms of Plato

    But to explain the relationship between these three we need a fourth...

    ... And fifth

    And so on...


    The problem of separation

    Aristotle further criticizes Plato on the following grounds:

    It is unclear in Plato’s theory of reality how the world of BEING relates to and influences the world of BECOMING

    The Problem of Separation

    Transcendent world of BEING

    Form (Idea) chairs

    Chorismos (Separation)

    Space-Time world of BECOMING


    Alternatives to plato

    Alternatives to Plato


    Realism

    Alternative 1: Realism

    “The doctrine that Forms, or essences, possess objective reality” (p.79)

    Essentially follows Plato’s premise that there must be something like the Forms but modifies or improves upon Plato’s theory of reality.

    Positive features:

    Negative features:

    Adherents:

    Plato

    Aristotle

    St Augustine

    St. Thomas Aquinas

    Realism


    Realism1

    Alternative 2: Nominalism

    “The doctrine that Forms, or Universals, are merely universal names by which we group together things that possess similar features” (p.79)

    Maintains that Forms and essences (universals) do not have any independent existences. They are just words we use to group things together with similar features.

    Positive Features:

    Negative Features:

    Adherents:

    William of Ockham

    W.V.O. Quine

    Realism


    Realism2

    Alternative 3: Conceptualism

    “The doctrine that universals are material constructs, and as such really exist in the mind” (p.79)

    Accepts the existence of Universals, essences, etc. but they do not exist independently or transcendentally; they exist in the mind. Hence we can talk and have knowledge about reality.

    Positive Features:

    Negative Features:

    Realism


    Summary

    Summary


    Plato s theory of forms

    • Summary of Plato’s Theory of Reality

    • Reality is composed of two distinct worlds:

      • The world of Being

      • The world of Becoming

    • Objects in each world have radically different properties.

    • Forms in the world of Being impart essence (Whatness) onto objects in the world of Becoming

    • Plato divides between Higher Forms (things without physical manifestation) and Lower Forms (things that manifest physically)

    • Plato further clarifies his theory of reality using the ‘Divided Line’ analogy.

    • The ultimate form and the source of all existence and knowledge is the form of the ‘Good’

    • Plato uses the ‘Analogy of the Cave’ to further illustrate the Form of the Good

    Plato’s Theory of Forms


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