Difference In The Philosophy Of Plato And Aristotle And Their Influence.

1585 words - 7 pages

The word Philosophy comes from the Greek words of ‘philo’ meaning love and ‘sophos’ meaning wisdom (Philosophy). It is the pursuit for wisdom, to comprehend human behavior, nature and ultimately the meaning of life. Plato was the student of Socrates, influenced by his work, Plato aged to become a great philosopher himself; establishing his philosophy from that of his teacher. Aristotle was the student of Plato, and like his teacher, grew up to ground his philosophy from that of Plato. Although, both Plato and Aristotle criticized their teacher’s works, they were also influenced by them. Both Plato and Aristotle developed their own modes of knowledge acquisition; Plato’s Platonic Idealism and Aristotle’s Analytic Empiricism. In this paper, my objective is to identify the differences in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, which lead to the development of two contradictory modes of knowledge acquisition and their influence on succeeding thinkers.

Plato (428-328 BC) was a successful philosopher, influenced by people like Heraclitus, Parmenides, and the Pythagoreans: But, the most influential person in Plato’s life was Socrates (Nicholas). Socrates used oral arguing to cross-examine people, asking them to define an idea or concept and through argument, improve their answer to give a better definition and thus gain wisdom; this was called the Socratic Method. Socrates used to argue concepts such as wisdom, justice, virtue and love. Plato supported Socrates ideas but criticized his work. He supported Socrates because he wasn’t biased and didn’t conceal the issues at hand: But, Plato criticized Socrates work because Socrates believed that during the “reincarnation of an eternal soul which contained all knowledge, we lose touch with that knowledge at every birth and need to be reminded” of it rather than learning it (Boeree). Plato adopted this idea and developed it further and so he came up with the Theory of Forms, also referred to as the Two World Theory. It states that the realm of reality is made up of the realm of the forms and the realm of the senses. The definition of Forms, in this context, is immutable and eternal. So the realm of forms is the ‘real’ world and the realm of senses is just an ‘imitation’ of what is real, perceived through our senses (Russo). Plato describes that the realm of forms contains perfect and complete, real ‘things’ which are eternal and unchanging. Whereas, the realm of senses only looks to be real, but isn’t. It’s only an imperfect imitation of the real forms which are constantly changing. Plato also goes on to say that the way in which we perceive these two realms is different. The realm of forms is equitable; it’s independent of the perceiver’s mind and doesn’t change. Whereas the realm of senses is nonobjective; it’s dependent of the perceivers mind and changes depending the persons expectation and perception. This Theory of Forms is best interpreted by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

In The Republic of Plato,...

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