This assignment focuses on the philosophies of the pioneer of philosophy and great philosophers namely Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. This assignment highlights the works of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. A comparison among the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle has also been presented.
1.Temple of Delphi
The temple of Delphi is an ancient Greek temple that is situated in Greece. Socrates was among the first Greek philosophers and his mottoes were inscribed on the walls of the Delphi temple (Gregory et al. 2003). In the Delphi temple, the priestess called the Pythians interpreted the mottoes of Socrates that were inscribed on the walls. One of the mottoes read “Know thyself”. The traditional meaning of this motto was a maxim that urged the local people to maintain their particular places in the society and continue with their duties of life. However, Socrates interpreted a whole new meaning to this maxim (Gregory et al. 2003). He interpreted that each person in the society needs to scrutinize one’s own duties and responsibilities, along with scrutinizing one self. Moral inquiry, as portrayed by Socrates is a matter of personal perception as well as personal reflection.
Socrates was a believer that his sacred duty as a philosopher was to serve his country and state of Athens. He believed that is duty was to help the people of Athens with the process of self-examination. However, in order to do so, he did not write much philosophical treaties. However, he spends most of the time in his life, in intellectual conversations as well as inspiring the fellow citizens. One of the most famous disciples of Socrates was Plato (Gregory et al. 2003).
The Socrates method
In the approach of Socrates, he is in search of the definition of a term justice. In his approach, Socrates, tries to determine the inner meaning of justice. He attempts to realize the inner meaning of justice (Gregory et al. 2003). Thus, the Socrates method was to seek the inner meaning of the words and ideas that was beyond the actual earthly meaning. Though Socrates was a great philosopher, he never claimed to be anybody’s teacher. One of the famous philosophies to Socrates is “what I do not know, I do not think I know either” (Gregory et al. 2003). This phrase is often referred to as the Socratic paradox. This means that one should know himself with clarity. The things he knows, and things that are unknown to him must be dealt with clarity. This paradox is closely related to the term “Know thyself”. Knowing what one knows, and does not know, reflects knowing one self. In this process of learning oneself, the previous beliefs are broken several times and the new learning and perceptions are incorporated. Moreover, in the philosophy of Socrates, virtue is knowledge. Attaining wisdom is referred to as making moral decision, incorporating the acts of virtue in daily life. In other words, knowing oneself is the actual wisdom, as illustrated by the great philosopher. This philosophy, incorporated among the human beings would enrich them. Knowing exactly what a person knows, might lead to truth that Socrates was in search of.
One of the most profound philosophers, who was guided by the great philosopher Socrates was, Plato. Plato was born in a wealthy family, having significant role in the political scenario of the country. At the age of forty, Plato established a school named Academy that taught various subjects such as mathematics, aesthetics, psychology, astronomy, and ethics as well as Meta physics (Gregory et al. 2003). Plato himself was well versed in all of these subjects and taught some of these subjects himself. Plato’s main focus was on the problem of being influenced by his guide Socrates. He was also in search of the essences of various terms that had a general meaning, however, he was focused on finding the inner meaning of such terms. Plato’s philosophical legacies included metaphysics developed through intellectual encounters (Gregory et al. 2003). The philosophy of Plato was also involved in a long term and constant battle with the doctrines of the Sophists. Plato was successful in interpreting much of the doctrines such as denial of an ultimate, independent reality.
The most famous theory of Plato includes the ideas or forms that show how his philosophy is appropriated, modified as well as contested. Plato eventually focused on the term idea, and searched for a philosophical meaning. This search resulted in differing from the perceptions of Socrates. Plato considered the ideas as real life entities that actually existed in the world. He also gave certain attributes to the ideas such as permanent, never changing, non-material. Ideas are the essence of things that exists in the real world. A table is a real world article. However, the material of the table, with which it is made of, is impermanent. According to the notions of Plato, the world of becoming is much inferior to the real world (Gregory et al. 2003). With the relation to the real world, the world of being is a dependent copy. As we intellectually grasp the world of being, knowledge is attained by us. The theory of Plato could be used as a border for understating the morale of his philosophies. The central idea of what justice actually is could be perceived from the grand dialogue between Plato and Socrates. Plato’s republic offers a theory for justice. This idea could only be grasped by wisdom and knowledge (Gregory et al. 2003). In order to acquire such knowledge, it is essential to learn what justice is. The idea of justice differs from person to person, and could be defined in various ways. Plato answered some of the critical questions related to justice such as how does the occurrence of justice take place, or what constitutes the way of living for human beings. Justice in terms of state of matter as well as soul is essential. Plato saw the internal structures as well as the functions of the state and opined that both of them are parallel. Moreover, he also mentioned that justice is a great virtue, and each individual has to strive to bring harmony to their soul and achieve justice. Thus, justice is to be achieved through personal and ethical perseverance (Gregory et al. 2003).
The Republic is basically a dialogue of Socrates that has been written by Plato. This dialogue is concern with justice of a state as well as of a man. The Republic is considered to be one of the best works of Plato and is a revolutionary one in the field of politics and philosophy.
One of the most diligent disciples of Plato was Aristotle. Though he was a gifted student of Plato, yet he developed his own theories as well as philosophies. Aristotle found various criticism of Plato’s works and gave preference to the truth. Instead of hypothetical conceptualization, Aristotle turned towards the real world. Like his guide, Aristotle also believed in the fact that the people’s understandings of individual things have various forms. However, disagreeing with his guide Plato, Aristotle was of the opinion that these forms are in the world and around, and not beyond (Gregory et al. 2003). He also laid adequate emphasis on the principles of intelligibility. Aristotle viewed change itself as a movement. According to the classification made by Aristotle, he stated that the main goal of political science is to ensure and provide a guide for good living. The main goals of political science are to develop a course of action that would ensure a good city state as well as a good social life among the people. According to Aristotle, all actions of human beings are aimed towards achievement of good life (Gregory et al. 2003). Plato identified the highest good as the transcendent. However, Aristotle mentioned that the highest good is the happiness in life among the human beings. In the virtues of Aristotle, there are various kinds of virtues. These are moral and intellectual. Moral virtues refer to the excellence in characters that has to be attained. The intellectual virtues refer to the excellence in thoughts that has to be acquired.
The philosophy of Plato and Aristotle is different in terms of the definition of “good”. As mentioned by Aristotle, “ All human activities aim at some good; some goals subordinate to others” (Gregory et al. 2003). However, Plato differed to believe in this view. Moreover, the good for man is also differed by Plato and Aristotle. Thus, though Plato was a guide to Aristotle, yet, their philosophies varied to a great extend. Both these philosophers have left their mark and guides human beings towards achievement of good living. Thus both the philosopher strived to provide a guideline for promoting good living to the human beings, but in their own perceptions.
This assignment focuses on the various philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and each of their views has been presented. The difference between the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato has also been highlighted here.
Gregory, Wanda Torres, and Donna Giancola. World Ethics. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2003.