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Flashcards in ✅Ancient Philosophy Deck (58)
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What is Plato’s understanding of reality?

Consists of a physical world of phenomena. The world of concepts- forms or ideals
Physical world is known through sense experience, but the sense can be misleading.
Physical world is always changing but world of forms is unchaining. Knowledge will last for eternity.


What are the forms?

Forms are concepts. Ideals and universals that we can use to help us understand the world.
Phenomena in the physical world “participate in” their forms.
Forms are superior phenomena because they are unchanging.
Forms are known through reason


Analogy of the cave

Plato invented a scenario which he uses allegory. Illustrate how knowledge gained through experience of the senses is inferior to knowledge gained though knowledge of the form
Imagine prisoners in the cave who have never known anything else but their imprisonment.
A prisoner leaves the cave and is enlightened by the form of the good, demonstrates how knowledge is gained.


Criticisms of Plato’s thought

Dawkins: no sense to talk of another world beyond the physical
No evidence
Theory of forms is unclear
Plato isn’t clear about phenomena “participates in”
Plato recognises our senses can be misleading


What is Aristotle’s understanding of reality?

We learn about reality through observation of the physical world
We have no way of knowing about it
Reality can be explained in four ways, the four causes


What is aetion?

An explanatory factor, a reason or cause for soemthing


What is the material cause?

Explains what something is made from. Involves looking at its components. Doesn’t explain everything, but it is important to investigate the material


What is the formal cause

Explains what shape something takes, or what it’s identifying features are. Gives something shape and allow it to be identified for what it is. Like Plato’s forms but it is in the empirical world


What is the Efficient cause

Explains the activity that makes something happen, it brings about change and “actualised potential” turning something from what it could be into what it is. This is actualising the potential.


What is the final cause

Somethings purpose, or reason for existing at all.
Aristotle used the term telos or end. Most important. Aristotle uses the idea of final cause to discuss goodness and the right way to behave,


What is the prime mover?

Aristotle thought there must be some kind of prime mover to account for the fact that everything in the physical world is changing. Couldn’t be an endless chain. Prime mover exists necessarily, and eternal. Like a magnet, causes change and motion by attraction, draw towards its perfection, must have no potential and be pure actuality. Must be perfectly good. Must be immaterial as it is not capable of being acted upon. It is transcendent and ultimate reason for everything


Criticisms of Aristotle

Lacks clarity
Dismissing Plato
Bertrand Russell and Dawkins- rejects view that the universe has a telos
Perhaps universe came about by chance
Not the only possibility


What is Plato?

A dualist, absolutist and rationalist.

This means he believe the soul and body are two separate things
Objective truths exist: universal, unchanging in all circumstance
Belief knowledge is used sulking on REASON


What view of knowledge is Plato?

A priori. Statements which is knowledgeable through reason, without any experience.


What was Socrates influence on Plato

Our souls are vastly more important than our lives. The spiritual world is unchaining.


What is Pythagoras influence on Plato

Plato coverts to Pythagoras . Belief of immortality of the soul. Philsosophers should shape the society,


What is Heraclitus influence on Plato

“You can never step in the same river twice”


What does Stephen Evans think about Plato’s understanding on f reality?

“Plato offers a rational argument for the existnace if another reality, which can be read off this world, even though not fully, this involves free choice”


What does magee think about Plato’s understanding of reality

“The theory that there is another world that this give ps. Kaye and meaning to our present lives”


What does geach think about Plato understanding of the reality ”

Suggests “how can the souls see forms?”


What does Brian Davis think about Plato understanding of reality

Not everything has an opposite. Linguistic argument only shows piece are a thing, distinct from a body

Use language about ourselves, as we are separate from reality


What is the quote from republic

“We say that particulars are objects of sight but not of intelligence, which forms are objects of intelligence but not of sight. ”


What is beauty?

A person never experiences perfect beauty in this world, as it doesn’t exist. Perfect beauty is just from knowledge,


How do you recognise forms?

We are born with a dim recollection of them from our prior existence in the world of forms. Our soul comes from theory of forms and is transferred to a body, our soul doesn’t change and is eternal


What is anamnesis

Education is the process of remembering. Socratic method, continuous questions until you find the right answer.


“He could only have reached the tRuth by recollection what he had already known but forgotten”

Socrates and Plato as the Socratic method of remembering the forms from another realm


Why does Plato believe in a world of for,s

Developed his ideas when gradually forming the sense of another realm. Plato thought of a world with perfection, and unchangeable objects, yet Plato started to release objects like circles can be a possibility of a perfect concept. This lead him to create an existence of a realm of perfect forms with non corporeal and eternal thoughts or ideals.


What is Plato’s analogy of the divided line

It designed the different areas of material and forms.
Eternal have two, with reason and intellect, reason consists of the world of being, with goodness etc. World of numbers ar shares and numbers,
In the temporary sensory, there is belief and imagination. World of objects are trees, dogs etc, and the world if imagines are painting and fiction etc.


Summary of the cave analogy

In republic VII. Socrates asked his headers to imagine a cave with an opening to the light, shadows are cast on the wall where 3 prisoners are from birth. Their reality are the shadows as that is all they have ever seen, when one of the prisoners escapes, he enters the real world but doesn’t believe it is real as he has never see it before, the sun blinds him and this shows the blindness of people in the light of god and reality, he tells the other cavemen but they don’t believe him as they hey have ignorance and haven’t experienced it.


What is an analogy

A comparison between q thing and another for a purpose of an explanation


What is an allegory

A story or poem that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning and can be used to represent or symbolise ideas and concepts.


“All men by nature desire to know, an indication of this is the delight we take in our sense”



What is potentiality

Possibility of doing and becoming something


What is actuality

When the potential has been achieved


What example does Aristotle use when describing the 4 causes

A marble statue.
Material is marble.
Efficient is Michael Angelo.
Formal is shape of David
Final is the statue because michaelangelo sculptured it,


How does Aristides ideas have relation to god?

Objects change. And if change there has to be a reason for change.
There has to be a starting point. The prime mover.
This is god


What is the prime mover

Pure substance that has no form. It is Aristides idea of god. Not one you can pray to, but rather it represents end which all matter is moving towards, a state of actuality.
It can’t have any relations as it is unchangable. It cannot think for itself as then it wouldn’t be immutable. If it have thoughts, it would change, and it can’t due to pure actuality.


What is eudaimonia

The state of virtue and happiness combined.


How does the prime mover work?

Draws the rest of the universe towards in bu virtue of the fact it exists in a state of pure actuality.
It’s like a magnet, things move towards it to be like it and be actualised.
It is the eudaimonia as humans to achieve actuality.


What is the type of god which Aristotle described.

Has to be eternal, and really exist but not in a bodily form. Never changes, immaterial, must be good. Change means impermanence and room for improvement.
It is perfection.


Similarities between artistes god and the Christian god

Never changes
Space and time


Differences between Aristotle’s god and the Christian god

X god is all loving.
Prime mover only thinks for itself.X goes to earth as god the father etc.
X god is omniscient and can do anything.
Prime mover is defined as a pure substance,


What is Aristotle?

Empiricist. Teacher of Alexander the Great, went to academy. 384 BC. materialist.


Strengths for the forms

Plato gives a good understanding for why there is imperfection in the world around is.
Plato belief that true reality lies beyond our experiences or sense. We know that personality is more important than beauty’s therefore we understand the problem with sense.


Weaknesses with Plato’s forms

We base our understanding on the world with our sense. Why is this wrong?
Who analogy is based on the idea that this world is an illusion. If conclude there are no forms, the whole analogy is meaningless.
Suggests that nobody has discovered true knowledge should ever return to the world of shadows.


What does Dawkins think about world of the forms

Nonsense to talk about the world behind the physical. The physical is where we live and is the only reality.


What are forms?

They are ideals. Blueprints of everything we see. Exists separately from physical world.


What are universals

Forms or ideals, such as the universal form for a chair. Unchangable and exist beyond our perception of them


What are particulars?

Objects we see like a chair, they are also called phenomena and universal, concepts,


What Is Plato’s book

Republic VII


What is the hierarchy of the forms?

The forms are related to each tiger in a hierarchy. Form of the good is at the top, and then aspects such as beauty and justice, then concepts and id as, then physical living objects then inanimate objects such as pictures or statues,


Why should phislosohers rule in Plato’s opinion?

Knowledge of the forms enables philosophers to judge opinions about goodness, knowledge of ideas is greater than experience of events, the philosopher, who know Good, will see straight into the heart of the matter and know which system is closest to Good.


Basic weaknesses for Plato’s ideas

Ack of evidence
Infinite regress. Form of a Form?
Subjectivity, what is beauty?
Not rational or reasonable


Why shouldn’t we rely on our senses?

Senses are inferior, and we shouldn’t rely on them.


How does Aristotle use teleology ?

It is the end of purpose of something if it’s function. For Aristotle, the end of a human being (TELOS) is to be rational and moral.


Weaknesses of aristotles theory

Can we rely on our sense?
Evidence for an unmoved mover is not therif everything has a cause, what is the cause of the prime mover?
Does everything have a telos?
Outdated. Physics has advanced.


What does Bertrand Russell and Hume think about Aristotle’s ideas

They would argue that the universe is just a brute fact, “I would say that the universe is just there and that’s all”.
Whereas Aristotle should argue there is a purpose


Which one is rationalism and which is empiricism

Plato is rationalism . Reason
Aristotle is empiricism . Evidence and sense.