Can We Still Learn From Plato?
Hell yes we can.
Plato believed that he could identify and explain the difference between opinion and genuine knowledge. He thought that whatever is relative and always changing cannot be true. Truth and knowledge are found in another realm of reality, which he called "Being". Being is not physical and is not affected by space and time. That which is eternal is real, and whatever changes is simply appearances.
Plato's Theory of the Forms is the core of his metaphysics. For Plato, Forms are timeless essences or entities. Forms are transcendental because they depend on the belief that there is a plane of being outside of our ordinary existence. Forms exist independently. Forms cannot be known through the senses. Forms are the essences of all things.
Each Form is a pure, unmixed essence that exists independently of human consciousness. Plato taught the theory of Forms in order to provide a rational explanation of how knowledge is possible. He was struggling to express his thoughts on this to those who were confusing knowledge with opinion. Plato clarified this confusion by stating that opinion is relative and knowledge is unchanging. Opinions are changeable, while knowledge is fixed. Knowledge is absolutely and eternally true. That which changes is less real than that which does not.
Plato taught that the lowest level of awareness is illusion. Illusion is the practice of holding opinions based solely on appearances, unanalyzed impressions, inherited beliefs and unevaluated emotions.
The next level of awareness Plato taught moves out of the realm of becoming and into the realm of being. This is the first stage of knowledge developed through deductive reasoning.
The final and highest level of reality moves beyond deductive reasoning. At this level, the soul has no need for perception or interpretation. Higher forms are directly understood, apprehended and experienced.
Another concept in Plato's metaphysics is what he called “The Good". Plato believed The Good is the highest form possible making the existence of everything else possible. The Good cannot be observed with the 5 senses, and can be known only by pure thought and intelligence.
He taught that everything has a natural purpose or function, and that happiness is the result of living a fully functioning life. Balance in all things, right?
Plato also believed that the seeds of democracy are the love of property and riches and a corresponding desire for a free economy. As the rich get richer, the poor grow angrier…ultimately overthrowing the governing body and installing a system of equality. The predominant characteristic of democracy is the lack of guidance and self-control, lack of wisdom and lack of temperance. The primary objective of democracy is excessive liberty.
What begins as unlimited freedom results in tyranny over reason by the lower parts of the soul. The built in excesses of democracy already contain the seeds of tyranny.
“Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value.” Plato- “The Republic”Filed under: Philosophy & Psychology
Login / Join