This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Critical Analysis Of Plato's And Sartre's Views On Existence

2480 words - 10 pages

In order to understand the meaning of existence in relation to philosophy, we need to discuss its ordinary meaning and the various levels of existence. The Chambers Concise Dictionary (1992, 362) defines ‘exist’ as having an actual being; to live; to occur; to continue to live’ and it defines existence as ‘the state of existing or being’. In other words, the Dictionary does not make a distinction between existence and living. However, philosophically there is the view that existence is different from living. What then is the meaning of existence in philosophy? In order to answer this question we shall examine how philosophers have used the term in their various works. Our attention shall focus on Plato and Sartre.
Plato’s view on existence
Plato’s view on existence can be understood by discussing his theory of Forms. The theory of Forms or Ideas is about the existence of ideas in higher form of reality, the existence of a reality inhabited by forms of all things and concepts. Plato used example of objects such as table and rock and concepts like Beauty and Justice to illustrate the notion of Forms. Plato further describes Forms as a being possessed by concepts. For example, Virtue has different characters; but they all have a common nature which makes them virtuous.
For Plato, Forms are eternal and changeless, but there is a relationship between these eternal and changeless Forms and particular things we perceive by means of our senses in the world. These particular things change in accordance to the perceiver and the perceiver’s environment and this is why Plato thought that such things do not possess real existence. For Plato, only the Forms are real and they are the only existing things. Objects that we perceive can only be said to exist as long as they reflect or exemplify the Forms. The Forms are the essences of things. Plato believes that human existence has an essence and it is this essence that comes before our existence.
In the Phaedo, ( Plato stated that the gods give men and women their names before they were born. This means that our identity was given to us before our birth. Plato’s view then has implications for human responsibility. Thus if we are not the authors of our identity, then it becomes problematic to hold us responsible for our actions. We shall see later how this view contrasts with that of Jean Paul Sartre. For Plato, our physical body is just a shell or a cover for the soul. What really matters to Plato is the soul, since the body is a vessel which protects the soul. In relation to existence, it is the soul that really exists and the body is a mere shadow of the soul.
However, many philosophers have criticized Plato’s theory of Forms. According to Russell (1972) Plato’s belief or ideas contains a number of errors. For Russell, Plato did not have the proper...

Find Another Essay On A Critical Analysis of Plato's and Sartre's Views on Existence

On Explaining Existence: Subsumption, Privilege, and Reality. This paper provides analysis of Robert Nozicks ontological criterion for explaining existence

1880 words - 8 pages existence seems reducible to an interpretation of law-like states, admittedly, by Nozick, a narrower endeavor than broad analysis of existence in general, yet still providing unexplainable ambiguities. Having explored the problematic nature of explaining existence in a general sense, we arrive at two possible conclusions, mentioned previously and expounded in the essay: Infinite explanatory chains, or deep-rooted non-supercedable truths. Although

A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn

1650 words - 7 pages A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn The Romantic Period introduced a variety of writing styles. The authors of the early eighteenth century altered many of the earlier romantic pieces. The early writers primary area of concern was nature. It was not until the ladder part of the eighteenth century that authors began to focus on the supernatural as well as nature. John Keats unique style of writing gave

Explain and evaluate Sartre's claim that emotion "is a transformation of the world... "

3323 words - 13 pages (he still appears and is in front of our eyes) and create new possibilities? Sartre's answer seems to be quite weak. He proposes that as well as being able to affect magic on the world, the objects of the world can turn round and affect magic back onto us, in a sort of two-way relationship. Some sort of interpsychic magical relation somehow governs the body and the way it perceives the world. Although this theory goes along the line of his

A Critical Analysis of John Stuart Mill’s "On Liberty"

1476 words - 6 pages An individual does not make a community, and a community does not make a society. In order to have a functioning and prosperous society, one must relinquish some free will in return for protection. According to John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, there are certain rights of the individual which the government may never possess. Centuries after the publication of Mill’s Essay, the court case Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do

Beowulf: Critical Views On Christianity

1185 words - 5 pages "Holy God, who sent him victory, gave judgement." This shows Beowulf's belief that God gave him the added strength and courage needed to continue to fight. As a result of faith in God, Beowulf was also given the opportunity to obtain the sword hanging on the wall, which would eventually be used to kill Grendel's mother. Throughout the entire poem, Christian traditions are portrayed in many ways. Beowulf is shown as a martyr, which is a

Three World Views of Human Existence

1049 words - 4 pages According to Edward Wilson, the desire of mankind to explain their origins has led to three dominant worldviews that attempt to explain human existence and present condition. These three worldviews are God-centered religion, political behaviorism, and scientific humanism. However, these views fail to recognize another increasingly popular worldview known as Intelligent Design. Because the theory of Intelligent Design hinges on the premise

A research oral on the existence and nature of chamber music before 1750

1610 words - 6 pages dynamic and interpretation.Chamber music, in the way we know it today began to evolve when composers began to specify as to how they wanted their pieces played. Philippe de Monte wrote in the preface to his fifteenth book of five-part madrigals in 1542 that the works contained therein would also sound well on viole da gamba, thus creating the potential for a five part string ensemble.For the most part there was no distinction between

A Critical and Rhetorical Analysis of William Cronon's Only Connect

1728 words - 7 pages A Liberal Education? Not According to Cronon. A Critical and Rhetorical Analysis of Cronon's Only Connect.While the term liberal education is heard from the most prestigious university to an inner city community college, the phrase itself has a hazy definition at best. While educators across America struggle with the definition of the phrase, William Cronon uses purpose, structure, and appeals in his essay "Only Connect: The Goals of Liberal

A Critical Analysis of Crime and Social Harm

863 words - 4 pages Governments ‘Respect’ website 2007 Crime is doing something forbidden by law. That could mean stealing a mobile phone, vandalism, graffiti, mugging, stealing or taking and selling drugs” (Muncie, Talbot and Walters, 2010, p. 3). This definition of crime is very much focused on the ideas of what criminologists would class as ‘street crimes’, crimes that are generally committed by the poorer people within society, young people who come from council

A critical and in depth analysis of pituitary dwarfism!

2812 words - 11 pages (GH)The most important of these hormones in terms of growth, is Growth Hormone (GH). Before delving into the world of GH, some background is needed on the role of a hormone.Hormones are substances released into the bloodstream from a gland like the pituitary, or an organ that affect activity in cells at another site . Hormones are proteins made up of folded amino acid chains, typically between 50 and 100 amino acids long . The folds in the

Ode On A Grecian Urn - Critical Analysis

705 words - 3 pages “More happy love! more happy, happy love!” (Keats, line 25). When one reads lines such as this, one cannot help but think that the poet must have been very, very happy, and that, in fact, the tone of the poem is light and filled with joy. However, this is not the case in John Keats’s poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn. At first glance, the tone of the poem seems light and flowery. However, when one looks deeper into the poem to find its underlying

Similar Essays

Marcuse's Critique Of Jean Paul Sartre's Being And Nothingness Is Discussed, And A Response Is Offered From The Perspective Of A Critical Rereading Of Sartre's Text

2293 words - 9 pages materialist account of its nature, condition, and limits" must be provided. In addition, he believed in preserving a "strong distinction between true and false consciousness."In this vein, Marcuse takes issue with Sartre's account of "being-for-others," which is based on a flip-flopping between two modes of interaction. As beings in a social world, according to Sartre, an essential part of who we are has an independent existence, in the form of

Aristotle And Plato's Views On Reality

1030 words - 4 pages Aristotle and Plato were both great thinkers but their views on realty were different. Plato viewed realty as taking place in the mind but Aristotle viewed realty is tangible. Even though Aristotle termed reality as concrete, he stated that reality does not make sense or exist until the mind process it. Therefore truth is dependent upon a person’s mind and external factors. According to Aristotle, things are seen as taking course and will

Plato's Views On The Technology Of Writing

1115 words - 4 pages Plato's Views on the Technology of Writing In the book Phaedrus Plato offers a lot of criticism for a writing technology that not many of us would ever think as writing technology, let alone criticize it. This writing technology is none other than writing itself. When people think of writing technology they mostly think of the printing press, the computer, the typewriter and such. Yet no one stops to think of writing. Writing

Freud's Views On Forgetting A Proper Name And Dream Analysis

1142 words - 5 pages Freud's Views on Forgetting a Proper Name and Dream Analysis In several of his books, including Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis and On Dreams, Freud combines the topics of forgetting a proper name and dream analysis, formulating a thesis that helps to clarify his theories on both. He describes in psychoanalytic terms the mechanisms behind forgetting of a proper name and how they relate to the methods used in dream analysis. By