Friday, October 7, 2011

The works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle: In short


Disclaimer: I am not sure how well i explained these theories. I only present themselves to the best of my understanding and comprehending of the resources. Sources are the novel “The Republic” and Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Courtesy: Google images
Socrates espoused that we possessed the whole knowledge from the time we were born and therefore he adopted the technique of questions to answer some very basic questions. He never revealed the answers. According to him, we did not learn by experience but we recall the things which we already know by our experience. He only advocate the people to ask question from themselves. He show the students how to extract the truth from their inner self. He was known for his art of asking questions and then reach to answer by reasoning. He never write anything about his philosophy and the reason we came to know about his ideas is due to the heavy published work by one of his student, Plato. Socrates was a man of independent ideas and a critic of democracy. He described philosophy as an activity and not theory and thus taught the  philosophical methods like clear thinking to arrive at the truth. He was found guilty for corrupting the minds of the young generation and therefore was impeached and killed by giving the drink containing poison in the prison. Plato  try to help him to escape from the prison but he simply refused as opposing the idea of the jury fall outside his philosophy. 

Courtesy: Google images
Plato published the “The Republic” which is about his dialogues with Socrates and demonstrated the ideas and the ways of Socrates about getting to conclusions by questioning and reasoning. Both were of independent ideas and not satisfied with the current society system and therefore give ideas to change the society. Although it is not clear yet whether Plato really explaining the philosophy of Socrates in “The Republic” or was using him to explain his own ideas. He described democracy as just “charming form of government” and also called it tyranny when Socrates was taken to prison. After absorbing the knowledge from Socrates for about 9 years, he was then forced  to leave the Athens for his good. Then begun his journey which continued for next 12 years. He roam around the world published many of his works. The central feature of his philosophy is his theory of ideas or forms which he continued to derive whole his life. According to him, the physical world we perceive is in continual phase of changes (and these moving images are what we call time) while what is perceived by mind is immutable and eternal. Everything we perceive around us like table, food, light are merely appearances, the true reality is the realm of ideas from which these forms are derived.  Everything, every form such as roundness, beauty, man are like patterns for the particular objects of the world and these particular objects are only imperfect and ever changing copies of these universal ideas. That means beauty is not limited to just objects, it also exists as some universal idea somewhere.With rational use of mind, we can refine our notion of these universal ideas and can apprehend them better. In this way we can approach the ultimate reality. This approach organized itself in hierarchical manner  with the most abstract idea like that of God at the top. His ideas were very much criticized. It was said that they were merely his imagination and of no use or understanding or little to do with real world. His death was quite a mystery.

Courtesy: Google images
Now comes  Aristotle, who was a student of Plato. He had published extensively on many subjects ranging from Maths, science to poetry and politics. He was the one who introduced the logic and reasoning. Later that was formalized to propositional logic. He was of the opinion that knowledge is not present by birth and can be learned with experience against what the Socrates believed.  He also rejected the Plato’s theory of forms and said forms are extrinsic to the objects and cannot exist apart from them while Plato had said that beauty and other properties are universal entities and exists independent of the objects.

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3 comments:

Divenita said...

You have improved. :) but take care of past/present tense. Read again and correct the errors.
You used "the" before name of a person.
Avoid that. You never say the rachit.
Only "The Nile" and "The United States of A" is right.

Else, i liked the article. Nice idea. waiting for more

Rachit Aggarwal said...

Thanks Divenita. Perhaps, i used the "the" before the name subconsciously but thanks once again to bring it to knowledge.

Hmm, I will check it again and try to improve.

saurabh17 said...

knowledgeable and insightful.. one generation after the other :)

keep up the good work dude :)

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