Andrew c English
Professor Snyder
Intro to Philosophy
March 3, 2015
Paper 1, Question 4
The world was and is meant to be questioned. Us as Human beings are curious about the life we live in and constantly ask ourselves what is the purpose of life and why are we here. Ancient Philosophers Plato and Aristotle had to consistently deal with questions such as these. These two Greek Philosophers, in all probability, were the two best philosophical minds of their times (besides our professor). Plato was born around 428 B.C., during the final years of the Golden Age of Pericles\' Athens. It is said the all of western philosophy is consisted of Plato’s teachings. His theory of forms was the center of his teaching and the cornerstone of his greatest philosophical achievement. However in a world like ours, no matter how great the person is and how good his teachings were, their theories always meant to be tested or defied. Aristotle being Plato pupil was the perfect person to do this. He argued that his teacher’s theory is essentially a declaration of the superiority of universals over details. Showing that Plato’s theory was too vague, indefinite, and could never place an answer on the detail of the world.
Plato’s theory of forms formed out of a number of different and partly independent features of the basic ideas and concepts that created the frequent themes of dialectical arguments. His forms theory discusses definitions, timeless truths, intellectual knowledge, conceptual certainties, and the list goes on. Plato’s theory emphasized that there are two worlds or realms. According to Plato there is the physical world (which we live in) and the second world. In the second world things are made of eternal perfected forms and ideas. These so called forms are what he calls perfect templates that exist in another dimension and that these objects are more actual than the objects we see in the physical word. What Aristotle did is clear the way for his realistic approach by emphasizing on observation first and intellectual reasoning second. In Aristotle’s opinion this theory is essentially an assertion of the superiority of universals over basics. The following quote was excerpted from Aristotle’s Metaphysics,
"...of the ways in which we prove that the Forms exist, none is convincing; for from some no inference necessarily follows, and from some arise Forms even of things of which we think there are no Forms. For according to the arguments from the existence of the sciences there will be Forms of all things of which there are sciences, and according to the \'one over many\' argument there will be Forms even of negations, and according to the argument that there is an object for thought even when the thing has perished, there will be Forms of perishable things; for we have an image of these. Further, of the more accurate arguments, some lead to Ideas of relations, of which we say there is no independent class, and others introduce the \'third man\'...”
What Aristotle is saying is that there is a form to everything that exist. When that form is here, is here. Then when that form perishes or diminishes, that form is still there. It is just in a diminished form of what it was. In Aristotle’s theory every form is existing and there are no other alternate copies of that form. However Aristotle does acknowledge and agrees with Plato on the fact that what we see in our lives is “most real” to us. The first world or the “physical world” is the world which is real. No one actually goes walking around thinking that what is in front of us is an imperfect form of what we know. Thinking that every color we see is an imperfect form of the true color somewhere on another plain of existence. Everything we see with our very own eyes is real and to our concept of how life is, it exist. What we see is real for us because we visualize it as so.
Plato’s theory of forms was a philosophical thought that change the Western Hemisphere. The thought of us human beings living in a physical world that is imperfect, is almost impossible to understand. Aristotle cleared the way for his philosophical thought by saying that everything has its own