Theory of Substance Against Theory of Forms
Aristotle’s Theory of Substance and It’s Refutation of Plato’s Theory of Forms
Aristotle argues in his Theory of Substance that that which we perceive can be placed into categories. In total, Aristotle argues that there are ten categories. The first category is primary ousia, or substance, which is unique in that it is independent (2a33-34) whereas all of the other categories are accidental. They modify, describe, or convey the traits and/or attributes of a thing. This theory is a rejection of Plato’s ontology as Plato argues that the form exists independently from matter. Aristotle argues instead that all things must have form and matter or lack both for neither can exist without the other. I am sympathetic to both arguments while at the same time recognize their respective flaws and limitations.
Primary ousia, also known as substance, “is that which is neither predicable of a subject nor present in a subject” (2a12-13). In other words, a primary ousia would be a particular, individual object such as a particular human being or a particular horse. For example, I, Matthew Pajor, as an individual, am the primary ousia. I, as the individual Mathew Pajor, am not predicable of any other object. Nothing can be said to be me except me. This stands in contrast to secondary ousia, also known as essence, and any other category. “Everything except primary substances is either predicable of a primary substance or present in a primary substance” (2a33-34).
Secondary ousia, or essence, is the species and genus of a particular individual. By genus we refer to the class of which multiple sub-types belong to (1b10-19). By species we refer to the sub-types that differentiate the members of a genus (1b10-19). For example, ‘animal’ is a genus while ‘human’ is a species of that genus. The differences that distinguish one species from another within a genus is called the differentia (1b16-19). Therefore, if the particular individual substance is Matthew Pajor, the secondary ousia is that of the genus ‘animal’ and the species ‘human’. In order to understand the relation of primary ousia and secondary ousia to the other categories, we must first understand the difference between something being ‘said of’ and something being ‘said in’
For something to be ‘said of’ it means that that thing can be said of a subject (1a17-1b9). For example, man can be said of Matthew Pajor, but it can also be said of any other human being. For something to be ‘said in’ a subject, it means that that thing belongs to the subject (1a17-1b9). To be clear however, if something is ‘said in’ a subject, it is inseparable from that subject, it is not like a limb. For example, intelligence can be said in a man while man cannot be said in intelligence. Primary substances are neither said of or said in for, as mentioned, they are not predicable. Secondary ousia can said of but not said in. Things from the other categories can be both said of and said in unless they speak of a specific primary substance of which then they can be said in but not said of.
The other categories: quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action, and affection (1b25-27) modify and describe the primary and secondary ousia. The terms in these categories are combined to make statements (2a4-6). For example: Mattthew Pajor is a 6 foot 4 inches tall intelligent human being. In that statement, Matthew Pajor is the primary substance, human being is the essence, intelligent is said in the human being, and 6 foot 4 inches is the quantity of height said in Matthew Pajor. That being said, if Matthew Pajor ceased to be 6 foot 4 inches tall or ceased to be intelligent, it would not diminish the primary substance of Matthew Pajor as Matthew Pajor.
Another feature of the relationship between primary ousia and the other categories is the capability of a primary substance to admit “contrary qualities” “while remaining numerically one and the same” (4a10-12). For example, a person can be laying now and later run. Or in Aristotle’s words,
“One and the same substance, while retaining its identity, is yet capable of admitting contrary qualities. The same individual person is at one time white, at another black, at one time warm, at another cold, at one time good, at another bad” (4a17-21).
However, primary substances cannot take on contraries of essences. For example, if Matthew Pajor takes on the essence of non-human, he would cease to be Matthew Pajor. If Matthew Pajor ceases to be a human, then he ceases to be Matthew Pajor. The secondary ousia is unchangeable if the primary substance is to be preserved as the particular individual it is. The inseparability of essence from a primary substance is the foundation of the Aristotle’s rejection of Plato’s ontology.
Plato’s Theory of Forms claims that the ideal, unchanging forms of things, real being, exist in the “intelligible realm” (517b). The things that we perceive only participate in these ideal forms and only mimic the real forms. He claims this because sensible realities, like people, are constantly changing, like when people age. This idea of real being versus coming to be is explained through his Allegory of the Cave in Book VII of the Republic where he describes chained prisoner (514a) looking at a wall where shadows pass by, not being able to see that which is making the shadows (514a-c). When the chained prisoner is freed, while initially having to painfully readjust to the new reality (515e-516a), he realizes that that which he had seen while being chained was only an imitation, or shadow, of reality (516a-b). This Allegory is meant to demonstrate that the world that we perceive with our senses is only an imperfect reflection or imitation of the intelligible realm. That which we believe certain things to be are only imperfect ‘shadows’ of the forms that exist in the intelligible realm separate from substance or matter.
Aristotle rejects the idea that form and matter can be separated saying, “it would seem impossible that the substance and that of which it is the substance should exist apart” (991b1-3). Take, for example, a human being. A human being is known to have flesh, bones, and organs. How could there be a human being without flesh? Yet, this Aristotle argues, is what Plato claims by saying that the sensible world is a mere patterning of the true forms. A form, like human being, exists without flesh as form however, if it lacks flesh, can it really be called a human being? Moreover, if we were to take in to account all the things that diverge from the ideal, it stands to reason that either nothing has really mimicked the ideal form or that all things are an imperfect participation in the ideal form. But who is to say whether a given thing is imperfect or not? For example, there are many types of tables and yet how a table is designed depends on what it is used for. A kitchen table for a kitchen is the ideal table in that context while a large ornate dining room table is the ideal table for head of state dinner. Both are ideal in their context and both are tables but neither are the same. Could it be that both are divergent from the real form or is it more likely that “the Forms are practically equal to—or not fewer than—the things” (990b4-5) in terms of number? In other words, is it possible that “to each thing there answers an entity which has the same name” (990b6-7)? In which case, there is no point for the form of the substance to exist separately because all that would do is double reality (990b23-35).
“What on earth the Forms contribute to sensible things, either to those that are eternal or to those that come into being and cease to be. For they cause neither movement nor any change in them” (991a8-11).
Forms cannot originate movement, they would require some sort of substance to take on the forms or to place the form into a given thing. In order words, things that have forms, have a given form not because that form exists in some intelligible world, but because a subject consisting of matter and form fashioned another thing of substance into a given form. As Aristotle says, “of the ways in which we prove that the Forms exist, none is convincing” (990b9-10).
While I recognize both Plato’s and Aristotle’s arguments, I am more sympathetic to Aristotle’s rejection of the Theory of Forms because I find it to be more plausible. Aristotle’s Theory of substance does not require the positing of an additional realm such as the Platonic ‘Intelligible realm’. Moreover, Plato’s Theory of Forms struggles to answer how take into account substances that possess multiple forms. For example, a multipurpose tool has a knife, a can opener, and scissors. Does that multipurpose tool possess three individual forms or a single form. If it possesses a single form, then aren’t there an infinite number of forms for anything that can be combined and reconfigured with a variety of different forms? Also, if sensible beings, like humans, give rise to other sensible forms, such as the development of new tools, there would be an infinite number of forms as there have been, and continue to be, an ever increasing number of tools that are used.
On the other hand, in Aristotle’s Theory of Substance, we look at a multitude of similar particulars and find whether they have the same essence. The more similar they are, the more closely related they are in terms of genus and species. For example, a dog and a human are both animals because they share many of the same traits. Dog and human are part of the same genus. However, two humans are part of the same species because two humans share more traits in common that do a human and a dog. Aristotle’s theory of substance and his categories are, in a sense, the way we classify things and understand the world today. We take multiple similar beings, and we classify them according to their similarity. We come to know the form of humans by looking at a multitude of similar beings and seeing what commonalities they have. Not only that, we discern to see what traits each have that are intrinsically part of the being’s essence and separate them from what are changeable traits that do not deprive from the essence of the being.
That being said, we do recognize imperfection and failure in the things around us. In recognizing imperfections in the things we sense, we understand what it means for something to be perfect because we understand the concept of imperfection. Seldom do we find things that are perfect in which case, Aristotle’s theory of substance doesn’t answer how it is that we know or comprehend the concept of perfection. Plato’s theory of forms does answer that question, but it does so in a way that is unconvincing and pushes the limits of evidence. Moreover, whether something is perfect or imperfect is often subject to interpretation.
The theory of substance supports the idea that each particular individual is unique. It makes sense to the rational mind understands that a given individual is not another individual. I am not someone else. While two individuals may share common traits in vary degrees, and those traits can be categorized, Aristotle’s Theory of Substances supports the reality which is the individuality of given primary ousia which separates it from any other substance.
The Views of Plato, Lao-tzu, and Machiavelli on How Different a Government is
There have always been various forms of government throughout society. People have been ruled by leaders, princes, and presidents. Certain philosophers such as Plato, Lao-Tzu, and Niccolo Machiavelli have proposed their views on how to show power. While Lao-Tzu and Plato had similar views compared to Machiavelli, they all had different actions when it came to the people. The views of Plato, Lao-Tzu, and Machiavelli will develop the government as we know today. In this comparison, what do these three philosophers reveal about how different a government is?
Lao-Tzu, who is a Chinese philosopher known for “Tao-te Ching.” Lao-Tzu believed in the power of the state, in which he was for the people; “Lao-Tzu takes the question of the freedom of the individual into account by asserting that the wise leader will provide the people with what they need, but not annoy them with promises of what they do not need.”
Plato, on the other hand, was a student of Socrates who worked on philosophical essays. Plato believed in a spiritual form. “In order to live ethically, it is essential to know what is true and, therefore, what is important beyond the world of sensory perception.”. Deeper into the views on government, Lao-Tzu wanted people to believe in Tao. “Who relies on the Tao in governing men doesn’t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms.” In other words, Lao-Tzu wanted a peaceful way of living, where the government did as the people wanted. “Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.”
Plato’s view of society can be found in “The Allegory of the Cave.” He suggests that the people in the cave is society, and we are prisoners that are looking beyond the meaning of life. “Being self-taught, they cannot be expected to show any gratitude for a culture which they have never received. We have brought you into the world to be rulers of the hive, kings of yourselves and of the other citizens and have educated you far better and more perfectly than they have been educated, and you are better able to share in the double duty.” Plato and Lao-Tzu philosophies of what a ruler should be are similar when it comes to the spirit of a person. In other words, to be taught, you must view the bigger picture. Plato and Lao-Tzu believed in individual happiness when it came to the leading role.
In comparison to Plato, Machiavelli saw a completely different view. Machiavelli thought a leader should control his nation without the fear of uncertainty. Machiavelli believed that by having a military and equipped was a priority for a leader. “Nevertheless, a prince must be cautious in believing and in acting, nor should he be afraid of his own shadow; and should proceed in such a manner, tempered by prudence and humanity, so that too much trust may not render him imprudent nor too much distrust renders him intolerable.”Plato, on the other hand, suggests the opposite. Plato believed a ruler must be truthful and have knowledge and discipline. “Observe, Glaucon, that there will be no injustice in compelling our philosophers to have a care and providence of others; we shall explain to them that in other States, end of their class are not obligated to share in the toils of politics.” Plato believed in the four virtues of wisdom, courage, self-control, and justice. Compared to Machiavelli, Plato thought a ruler can never be unjust and people should not harm others. In the end, Machiavelli believed that a leader would do well by being superior rather than Plato’s views on the government caring for the people.
With regard to whom Plato would most likely agree with when it came down to beliefs, Plato was more for Lao-Tzu views on government. Lao-Tzu and Plato saw similar views regarding how a leader should rule his people. Plato and Lao-Tzu were more content with the people running society. Both philosophers wanted the same goal, which was wisdom. Plato and Lao-Tzu spread their beliefs through the thoughts of others. Plato was more actively searching for this wisdom of others, where Lao-Tzu was more natural when it came to him. Both of these philosophers are on different paths but believing that the way to succeed in being a leader was to not force it.
In conclusion, Machiavelli had different beliefs compared to Plato and Lao-Tzu. Where Machiavelli believed in a strict leader, and the use of war and guns, Plato and Lao-Tzu believed in natural wisdom and the rise of the people. All these views were necessary when it came to surviving and operating mankind. In today’s society, each belief is something people would want as a leader.
Analysis of Plato’s View of Falsehoods
In Plato’s republic he creates a utopian city by the name of Calipolis as both an example and a thought experiment to be employed while showcasing his views on society and the nature of just government. In his mind the creation and maintenance of a just city is dependent on a number of things. This city must have a clear class system in which the citizens are content in their station in life or the very least led to believe that it is the best they can possibly attain. The classes within this system must be clearly defined and be pervasive in all areas of life. Plato divides his society into three main classes, guardians, auxiliaries and the artisan class. Among the uppermost ranking are the perfect rulers of Plato’s mythical city, the philosopher kings.
In order to maintain the strict class system and thus maintain a platonic form of justice within Calipolis, Plato invents series of creation myths and deliberate falsehoods to maintain order. One of the more important of these such falsehoods is the “myth of the metals”. In this myth Plato states that all citizens of Calipolis are born with a certain metal in their blood. The ruling class of guardians is born with gold in their blood, the auxiliaries have silver and the artisans have bronze. This places everyone into a category of aptitude that cannot be disrupted and thus instills a certain form of order to the city.
In Plato’s mind “the myth of the metals” is a form of acceptable if not necessary falsehood or government sponsored lie. He believes that to maintain a just city the guardians must use falsehoods to ensure that the citizens do not become dissatisfied with their lot in life and then create disorder. “But what about spoken falsehood? Is it not sometimes and on some occasions useful, and not then detestable? Can we use it, for example, as a kind of preventive medicine against our enemies or, when anyone we call our friend tries to do something wrong from madness or folly.” Plato sees these deliberate lies as useful to the ruling class in order to alter public perception of reality and allow for the select few at the top to have more ideological control than otherwise possible in a totally transparent society.
Although Plato argues for the deliberate selection of lies that are to be told by the ruling class, proper justice cannot last for very long under these conditions. By instilling the power to select which lies are told and what areas of life they greatly impact, gives far too much power to one set of individuals. It is possible in theory that the rulers of Calipolis (a mythical utopia) would be able maintain a series of just lies over an extended period. In a non-mythological setting however, this system would break-down into total authoritarian injustice rather quickly. This shift would take place as those in power, being human and thuis having their own flaws, and base appetites as Plato refers to them, would create falsehoods that directly benefit them and disadvantage the rest of society. Throughout history, powerful and intransparent ruling parties have created some of the most blatantly unjust and tyrannical societies through the extensive dissemination of falsehoods and government sponsored lies. Somewhat recent examples of this are the rules of Hitler, Stalin and currently Kim Jong Un.
Summary of Plato’s “Protection of Socrates”
Plato’s “Protection of Socrates” takes after the preliminary of Socrates, for charges of misguidance of the young. His opponent, Meletus, claims he is doing as such by instructing the young of Athens of a different otherworldliness from that which was generally acknowledged. Socrates’ contention was one of a kind in that he endeavored to persuade the jury he was only a normal man and not to be dreaded, but rather, in reality, exhibited how sharp and persevering he was. In view of his stoic impression of death, he offers an absurd counter-proposition: the first being free suppers for him in the Prytaneum. Somewhat later, his supporters persuade him to settle on a direct fine of 30 minas. His thinking for proposing such silly counter-punishments is that since he feels demise would be great, he has no motivation to subject himself to a far more terrible destiny, for example, oust.
Socrates proceeds to decline to change his courses with a specific end goal to keep away from death for two reasons. The first being that he believes he is taking the necessary steps of the divine beings, and the second, that what he does advances a larger amount of thought and astuteness; changing his ways would conflict with the essentials Athens was based upon. It was a totally bad idea to throw these types of arguments in the court which was indicating he was trying to be blunt and not thinking straight. The counter-argument he should have presented that would lead to his acquittal will be discussed, and will examine how this acquittal will not be consistent with Socrates in his views of life mission. He starts his argument, with a tale of his visit to the Oracle of Delphi, which disclosed to him that there was no man more intelligent than he. He, being as modest as he seems to be, couldn’t underestimate the Oracle’s answer and approached addressing Athenians he felt outperformed his insight. The arguments can be raised in a well-thought manner not just bluntly, his first argument has given the impression of a sense of superiority which gave a negative impact of his personality to the court.
Meletus says that Socrates is the individual in Athens who is in charge of the debasement of the adolescent. However, it is crazy to state that just Socrates misguide the young. This infers every other person helps the young. Be that as it may, similarly as there are few pony trainers, so there are rare sorts of people who are in a situation to truly “prepare” the young. What’s more, as opposed to what Meleteus affirms, Socrates is one of these coaches. Who might deliberately degenerate the young? In the event that Socrates deliberately hurt the young, at that point they would hurt him. Also, no normal individual intentionally hurts himself.
However, in the event that he hurt the young unintentionally, at that point he ought to be taught not rebuffed. If Socrates get acquitted from the allegations it does not change his life missions, he had a staunching stance in the matter and none conviction can change that. Socrates proceeds to reject changing his life with a specific end goal to stay away from death. He believes he is taking the necessary steps of the divine beings, and the second being that what he does advances a more elevated amount of thought and intelligence; changing his ways would conflict with the basics Athens was based upon.
Anyway, Socrates does not fear death. He assumes that demise could mean a hereafter that rewards the individuals who are great and since he believes he has been a decent individual, passing would be welcoming. His other hypothesis is that demise measures up to non-presence, which in all likelihood looks like a profound rest. So both of these final products are not deserving of being dreaded.
The Main Idea on Love in Phaedrus’ Speech and How Socrates’ Ideas Contrast with Or Challenge Phaedrus’
Phaedrus started the speech by explaining that Love is one of the most ancient gods, bringing people goods and guidances. Phaedrus explained that, people will be more guilt or proud in front of their lovers, and they don’t want their lovers to capture the moment that they did something shameful, as a result, shame and humiliation are able to guide people to act well. He then proposed a system that a city or an army are formed by lovers, which can hold each other back form shameful works.
Here then brought out one of the idea of love by Phaedrus, love make people a better person, holding back shameful act, lovers and the love guiding each other, pushing each other to a higher level, that’s what Phaedrus want to tell us that, love can bring improvement to a mankind, by lovers themselves guiding each other.
After that, Phaedrus brought out the idea by telling two stories to prove why only a lover would willing to die for their beloved one, which are covering his second idea of love, making people a brave man. From the stories of Alcestis and Achilles, Alcestis is the only person who was willing to die for her husband, put him in a higher place than her parents. He also mentioned the story of Achilles, who was willing to avenge Ptrolclus, his lover, by killing Hector, even though he knew that he would be killed afterward.
Phaedrus used these two stories to bring out the idea that, love will turn a person into a brave man, people will do anything regardless the hardship to protect their beloved. The stories of Alcestis and Achillies also brought out the idea of the act of sacrifice, at the end of the stories, both of them were appreciated by the god and separately brought the soul back from underworld and was sent to the Islands of the Blessed. Phaedrus compare these stories to Orpheus, who retreated and preserved one’s own life, and died at the hands of women, showed that how beautiful it is to give one’s life for his lovers, and stated the goodness of self-sacrifice in love.
Socrates brought out his ideas by quoting the dialogue with Diotma, Socrates linked love with reproduction, saying that love actually is the form of achieving immortality. In the line, Diotma exemplify this idea based on Phaedrus’s construction on the stories of Achilles and Alcestis. Unlike Phaedrus, regarded their acts as self-sacrificial ,brave, and for the good of their lover and beloved, Diotma claiming that they were dying for immortal honor, but not their lovers. Eventually, it was also for love, since the final goal of love is immortality, by Diotma’s view. The same stories talking about goodness, bravery under Phaedrus description, but the angle changed in Diotma’s hands.
Unlike Phaedrus focused on how does love bring goodness, bravery, Diotma emphasized on immortality as the ultimate object of love, and reproduction is thus the propose of love. To achieve immortality, people will pursuit beauty, and reproduce and mingle with the beauty that he chose, unlike Aristophanes’ conclusion that all lovers look for their other half, Diotma focused more on the creature, which represent immortality.
Phaedrus believed that, love can bring improvement to one person because of shame and humiliation, their acts will be guided by their lovers. However, Diotma brought out another views, the improvement of mankind is because of love itself, when people chasing beauty, they will start with physical, soul and at last philosophy, which is love’s highest expression. “Ladder of love” will bring people to a different level, through the education in love, people will improve and thus a better person will be created. Unlike Phaedrus’ views that, beauty of a person is based on the guidance of their partners, Diotma claimed that, education of love, the cultivation of two people who are chasing for beauty, the “Ladder of love” will thus bring them to see the true beauty, and thus improvement will be resulted.
The Difficult Journey of Education in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”
In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” Socrates discusses the difficult journey of education that an ignorant individual must go through in order to become enlightened. He employs symbolism of a dark cave full of shackled prisoners to depict the limited outlook of ignorant people. These prisoners face a wall with shadows cast from artifacts and make guesses on what each artifact is. Because they know of nothing else, they accept anything they see as the whole reality without using reason to contemplate its identity or whether there is more to it. When a person is liberated from the cave, or is educated, he or she realizes that his or her prepossessed beliefs were incorrect, and he or she must face the struggle of accepting the truth. Socrates opposes the idea of education being a simple act of “putting knowledge into souls that lacks it, like putting sight into blind eyes;” and instead sees education as an extensive process that is not instant or passive.
In fact, he believes that ignorant people do have “sight,” but that their sight is turned in the wrong direction. He claims that they require assistance to redirect their perspective—sometimes even to the extent of using force. Although I disagree with Socrates’ idea of using force to educate others, I support his view of education being more than the act of a teacher merely relaying information to a student and that it helps the individual grow as a person because education requires the individual to take time to accept his or her ignorance and create a new perspective for himself or herself.
According to Socrates, education opens the eyes of ignorant people and frees them from their unenlightened state. Education creates a way for an individual to contemplate his or her own knowledge, or what is already known, and challenge them from a brand new perspective. Socrates explains that becoming educated is not accomplished through one person telling another person a fact. For example, teachers can write mathematical equations on the board for their students to memorize. The student does not automatically know what it is – they do not become instantly “educated” on the meaning of the equation by simply memorizing it. To become educated, the student must study it and utilize it in their problem solving. True education involves a lengthy process of an individual taking in information and using reason to form his or her own judgement upon it.
The purpose of education is not to hand over the truth, but to push an individual towards the truth. Socrates also implies that the ignorant person is not “blind,” for he or she already possesses his or her own set of beliefs and values– although they may not fit Socrates’ idea of being correct. He states that everyone is capable of learning and that “the instruments with which each learns is like an eye that cannot be turned around from darkness to light without turning the whole body,” illuminating his argument that education does not impact one part of a person, but the entire being. Education moves individuals in a fashion that transforms their soul completely, allowing them to think broader, or redirect their thoughts down paths never once explored. This allows them to observe their own thoughts as well as life and the people around them and question whether they are right.
The importance of education is pushed even further when educated individuals use their newly developed knowledge as a gateway to attaining even more knowledge. Education nurtures one’s mind and soul, allowing he or she to grow as a person and live a fuller life. In Socrates’ metaphor, the prisoners believed that the extent of reality was “nothing other than the shadows” of the artifacts that they saw in the cave. When one of the prisoners was freed from the cave, he could acquire critical thinking from his exposure to the true reality outside of the cave and apply it to his past thoughts and life. He then realized that the entire truth was not just the shadow, but the artifact behind it as well. Through this, Socrates further emphasizes the fact that education allows one to grow as a person by using reasoning instead of senses to make judgements.
He suggests that as education enriches the soul in the direction of enlightenment, it also pushes the person to be more just. Education can pave the path towards justice by creating an increasing number of better individuals, better leaders, and a better society. Socrates ends the allegory by claiming that it is the job of the educated to revisit the prisoners who are restrained in the cave and “share their labors and honors;” he states that not doing so would be an “injustice” to the ignorant as they would not get to experience the life-changing transformation of the soul that comes with being educated. The prisoners’ heads and bodies would remain in the same position it had always been—untouched and unturned by education, and the prisoners would never get to see the world from both perspectives. Without being able to turn their heads, they are unable see the whole truth like those who are educated can. This can create an imbalance in the society. By educating others, society becomes more united as everyone would have the knowledge and experience of both the ignorant and educated.
From Socrates’ perspective, it is fine for someone to “compel” another into education. He describes the freed prisoner’s conversion as someone “dragg[ing] him away from [the cave]” and forcing him to “look at the light itself,” despite the light painfully blinding him. Socrates claims that over time, the prisoner, or the ignorant, would slowly process the truth and come to accept it. Although it is true that through such force the prisoner could reach enlightenment, I believe his method is still morally unacceptable. Socrates is correct when he states that passively receiving knowledge is wrong – but I believe there are better methods to educating someone besides using force. If someone is forced into education, he or she does not get the chance to go through the personal process of accepting the truth and developing his or her own way of thinking.
He or she learns not because they want to, but because they must. The ability to learn is innate in everyone, but I believe having the desire to learn is a fundamental part of education. The ignorant must be willing to push aside their false beliefs and try to see the truth. Having someone assist another is effective, but in order to become truly educated one has to be active in the process. A better method of education, from my perspective, would be to use persuasion. This way, one could help the ignorant come to the point of realizing that there is more to the truth, like being the person who breaks chains restraining the prisoner – but nothing more than that. Persuasion allows the ignorant to come to terms with reality under free will, using no resistance. He or she has the chance to decide whether they believe an idea is right or wrong with no outside influences swaying his or her decisions. The person being educated can evolve their way of thinking without such things holding them back; he or she can learn to think for themselves.
Socrates and I share the same definition of education – it is not a transmission of information from a teacher to a student, but an affair that involves the student being active and processing the given information to create new ideas. We also both view education as a way to better individuals as it allows them to take current knowledge and enhance the mind, reflecting on themselves and altering their perspectives. Education takes a belief and redirects it, like a person turning their body in the other direction and giving them a new sight. Despite these agreements, I cannot support Socrates condoning the use of force in educating others. Having another intervene with the use of force inhibits those who are in the midst of being educated from experiencing the full effect of enlightenment. The better method to education is one that uses persuasion. It is acceptable for another to guide the ignorant towards enlightenment, but not to the extent of ignoring signs of resistance. Every person is born with the ability to learn, but to be educated there must be the desire for knowledge.
The Atlantis – a Mythical Society
It is human nature to become infatuated with the unknown. The world holds endless myths and legends. For over 2000 years people have fantasized about a Mythical society that goes by the name Atlantis. Beginning with the Ideas of Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher. There are countless ideas about what and where Atlantis is. According to Plato its remnants lie in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to Plato Atlantis is a wealthy and advanced civilization which was swept into the sea. Plato tells the readers of Timaeus “In a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in a like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.” In his dialogues, Atlantis is an island, surrounded by water, then surrounded by earth, and again surrounded by water with one more layer of land surrounding the island. The Atlanteans dedicated a Massive temple to Poseidon made of gold and orichalcum on a hill in the center circle.
Atlantis was a shipping center for thousands of ships sailed for trade, exploration and empire because the Atlanteans constructed a canal: “Beginning from the sea they bored a canal of three hundred feet in width and one hundred feet in depth and fifty stadia in length.” Atlantis had a stronger Navy than any civilization ever and superior technology to all of their enemies. With this navy the Atlanteans conquered the entirety of the Mediterranean except for Greece, a nation that later conquered them. The Atlanteans were supposedly technologically similar to modern day western civilization, they had hot and cold running water, plumbing, and many “modern” commodities. Atlantis fell by the hands of the Athenians. After growing weary of years and years of Atlantean domination the Athenians decided to battle with them for control of the Mediterranean Sea. After the Athenians won, the Atlantean army retreated to their island, which was bearded with waves and earthquakes until it sank to the bottom of the Mediterranean sea.
It’s a mystery whether or not Atlantis was a real place or simply a metaphor for a utopian society that became corrupt. Plato had invented many other civilizations as a metaphor in order to teach a lesson. It has all of the components necessary to create an epic fable; a race of men that were the children of a god, advanced technology, and a mysterious end. Plato wrote “They despised everything but virtue.” To the people of Plato’s time, this could have been seen as a quintessential civilization. It may have been too perfect to be true.
However; there are many compelling facts that point towards Atlantis being real. One of the biggest of these are the words of Plato himself. Unlike many of his fictional work, Plato clearly stated that this was true story. Plato says that Solon, the great lawmaker of Athens, told him the story and that Solon heard it from the Egyptians. Plato would not have told a lie using Solons name. Solon was a great man who was well respected by the Athenians for his wisdom and diplomacy. There is not a single “answer” to the mystery of Atlantis. Many people believe that say that it was just a story made by Plato or Solon. A parable made to make the Athenians fear hubris. There have been archaeologists that say that they found Atlantis in the Mediterranean Sea around the isle of Crete. There are still others that say Atlantis is really at the deepest pits of the Atlantic Ocean, but was destroyed by whatever immense force killed the Atlanteans, and could possibly never be found.
Main Message in Plato’s Republic
An Ode to Reason
Book IX of Plato’s Republic is underwritten by one of the central themes of the whole text: the importance of rearing and education for the soul of the individual and as a result the prosperity of the polis. It is often hard to distinguish between the two when they are not explicitly evoked, but it would suffice to say that rearing happens in the family and education in schools or during the individuals personal philosophical pursuits. In the discussion tyranny, it is once again the degeneration of the individual’s soul that leads to an overbearing political composition of the whole polis. This degeneration occurs as a result of desires run amok; that is not only the deformation of desires, but the uninhibited pursuit of desires that are deemed unnecessary.
Richard D. Parry boldly underscores the centrality of the distinction between necessary and unnecessary desires for Socrates’ argument. “Necessary appetites are necessary because satisfying them allows us to live and is beneficial for health (558d-e)” (pg. 387). Quite obviously, these are the quite literal appetites for food, drink, shelter and as Aristotle might even say: human connection. Although these desires have the potential to degenerate into gluttonous tendencies, for the most part their pursuit is healthy and beneficial. Moreover, gluttonous tendencies are a matter of dispositions that are shaped and acquired through rearing and education. “Unnecessary appetites, then, are such that one can get rid of them, if one is trained from a young age. Moreover, dwelling in the soul, they do no good and some of them are harmful (559a)” (pg. 387). It is clear then, that as dispositions, both of these subsets of desires are in a sense value neutral. Parry describes them as sources of behaviors, thus as quasi agents (pg. 390), hence it is the job of reason to police their moderation. This is one of the clearest arguments presented in the Republic that connects desire with the design of political institutions. There is nothing inherently evil about the appetitive part of the soul, rather wretchedness comes to life due to corrupted design of institutions, including here the family.
The only point I am inclined to disagree here, mainly with plato and Socrates, is the narrow definition that is given to education and a certain insistence on the essentialism of dispositions. It only seems possible to get rid of such dispositions at a young age, and for the most part that’s true, children are most malleable in terms of virtue. However, this account seems to assume that the design of political institutions is then only important insofar as rearing and education go. Once these dispositions are moulded, i.e. granted their quasi-agent status, they take on a life of their own. Since only reason can moderate them, then it follows that this sort of propensity for reason must be instilled at a young age as well. Which makes me think of two challenges. First, what is then the role of political institutions in the life of an adult? Are the then merely schematic chess-pieces that one approaches according to their pre-shaped dispositions? I would argue then that institutions, as constantly changing entities, are also constantly shaping our desires in relation to them. Although one is certainly predisposed to approach them a certain way, there is a malleability that continues beyond childhood. Second, are lovers, or even more simple minded ‘likers’ of reason, minted as such only at a young age? Or is it possible for someone to fall in love with philosophy at old age even? I would tend to argue for malleability once again and propose that in accordance to the old trope of old age and wisdom, it is possible for one to reckon old wicked ways. Parry reminds us very diligently that in the Ancient world, the kind of madness that takes hold of the tyrant can be a temporary phenomenon. One can “snap out of it” and feel shame, as well as regret.
The Matrix and Philosophy: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Watching a movie can sound like a typical and normal activity nowadays. Naturally, families and people spend more time selecting the film to see that thinking about the complex meaning that this entails. In order to emerge ourselves in the film’s situation, the world of cinema plays with our mind and body. This unconscious game with us is seldom noticed and we just keep our eye in the film and enjoy it. However, what would happen if we stopped for a moment to analyze these previous perceptions? Will they be the same? Absolutely no, most individuals are not aware of the significant and valuable consequences of trying to be more observers and analytics in cases as movies or general media.
“Seeing beyond what is easily visible”. It’s not necessary to be a philosopher to do it, this essay won’t pretend that everyone thinks or acts like a philosopher, albeit it will demonstrate the profits of being critical and having another conception of what we perceive as truth and reality. Being more specific, “The Matrix” is an excellent illustration of the complexity of the understanding of our daily life. This is because of the fact that a large list of religious, mythological and analytical issues have been shown in the movie. This essay will provide an explanation of the uses of philosophical ideas in the film “Matrix” and its relation to the “allegory of the cave” by Plato in order to explain how the reality can be understood. Consequently, it will be divided in the following main concepts: “allegory of the cave” by Plato, the definition of the philosopher, the Jewish religion, “the red pill and the blue pill” idea and its exemplification in current life.
First of all, it is relevant to explain what means “Matrix”. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English (2018) generally, it is an environment or material in which something develops. Mathematically it is a special case of dimensional arrays which indicates the existence of two different dimensions called rows and columns and consequently each element has a determined space and role. In this order, this term can reflect the direct relation that the actual definition has with the “The Matrix” movie. The feature depicts the painful and problematic process of acceptation of the true existence for Neo, the principal character. Through the instructions and lessons of Morpheus and Trinity, he noticed that the world which he perceived as real was actually completely fake known as “Matrix” controlled by intelligent Machines. “The Matrix is the most philosophical film ever made, every step of its fast-paced plot pivots on a philosophical conundrum”.
Plato was really interested in images and illustrations; he often used those to describe the relation between the forms and perceptible things. Most well-known in “The Republic” Plato uses a metaphor of projected shadows to explain how we can make the transition from focusing on the forms to focusing on the real world,
“Imagine, he says, slaves chained in a cave so that they can see only a wall, which is illuminated by the light of a fire, close to which objects are carried so that their shadows fall on the wall. They would take these shadows to be real things. However, if their chains were broken, they would turn and recognize the objects themselves as the originals of the shadows: a real book is more book-like than the shadow of a book. But until they had done this, they would not know what real things, as opposed to opposing to shadows, were”.
In our case, we live in the movie theatre of the everyday life and we are able to know the presence of many things, although we find it hard to know what they essentially are. This kind of mental challenge is also described in “The Matrix” or even in Plato’s words: “world of dreams”. In which the so-called reality turned out to be the world of shadows and the “awakening” indeed is the crude reality. This allegory by Plato is still being present in nowadays cinema. While projected images pass in front of us, we are sitting contemplating them with attention. However, a relevant distinction between the prisoners and modern cinema exists. Plato’s captives are not aware of the issue that darkness, shadows and unreality were only their own idea of truth. On the other hand, despite the advanced technology in the movie, the truth and what it is seen on the screen are able to be distinguished. Neo had to pass through a series of, first decisions and second complications, in order to forsake his habitual conception.
The slave who lives in the cave or even Neo before the “awakening” represents a regular person. Somebody who just follows rules, obeys laws, repeats the quotidian action and is aware of superficial problems. On the contrary, the exemplification of the real philosopher is seen through the slave who takes off his chains or Neo after his “awakening”. Gunkel (2008) states that “Chains can be understood as everything that binds us and prevents discovering the truth directly”.
The philosopher is defined as the man who first escapes the cave. “The one among us who comes to realize that we are all in some way living lives of illusion, held captive by shadows and chains, not of our own making”. Morpheus during “The Matrix” it is that one who did it. Besides, the philosopher, the wise, has a paramount role in general. “He or she tries to free as many of his/her fellow captives as possible, liberating them to live in the broader, brighter realities that lie beyond the narrow confines of their customary perceptions”. Its goal is to free us from illusion and to help us get a grip on the most fundamental realities. This figure is not only always trying to seek the pure or sincere but also allows others to reach the same. It is a model who guides who also decides to make the effort to wake up. Morpheo also is a vivid image of this task of philosophy, because he guides to Trinity, Neo and other to the awakening.
Furthermore, another association that it is made it is the pain of realizing the deceit in which you have been living most of the time, or in fact, of life. In order to join Morpheus and Trinity in their experience looking for the real, Neo must be born again. In his case he suffered various aches, for instance he had to be in a long recovery due to the fact that he had never used really his body, his muscles were extremely weak, he does not have hair and his eyes were irritated at the beginning because, according to Morpheo, he never uses it truly. Likewise, in Plato’s allegory the slave who go out troubled similar illness too. The exposure of a true reality makes face challenges that just someone who absolutely is looking for the truth is able to support. Unfortunately, sometimes the pain is not just physical. In some occasions, it is present emotionally when the philosopher attempts to expose the truth and he or she is ignored or portrayed as a liar, manipulator or ignorant. Comparatively, in the last years, some cases made reference to this rejection. Social leaders famed as Nelson Mandela, Jaime Garzon or Mahatma were treated unfairly because of their controversial behavior. At the end, they were not wrong at all.
At this point, the previous idea allows to this essay introduce the “Jewish religion”, which also bears alliance with “The Matrix”. The main belief of this particular doctrine is the existence of a unique omnipotent God who desires people be just and loving. In the same way, Jewish people affirm that in God there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three are equal to each other, support each other and complete each other. This doctrine of the Trinity assures that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is also God, and that, nevertheless, there is only one God. The Matrix is also a spiritual film, saturated with religious symbolism.
The story goes deep into the Jewish religion, in which Neo represents Jesus. Neo’s mission is to reveal the truth that will set humankind free. And if that is not enough, he gives his life for others and then rises from the dead more powerful than ever. He even ends the movie ascending to heaven. Moreover, Trinity is a clear reference to the Holy Spirit. She stays next to Neo and Morpheus; she obeys them, supports them and takes care of them in a certain way as the Holy Spirit. Also, Morpheus makes the representation of God. He knows the truth, he is able to see the seemingly invisible to others, he steers the new true way.
Equally surprising, “Morpheus” comes from morphe and in Greek mythology was the god of dreams; his name currently looks like “morphine”, which is a drug that induces sleep and freedom from pain and “morphing” which is used to change smoothly from one image to another by small gradual steps using computer animation techniques. Furthermore, “Neo” comes from néos and means “new, young”. Linguistically “Neo” is a prefix which denotes something current. In the religious context “Trinity” is the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. Each character poses a wonderful meaning that curiously manages to describe certain fragments of the personality and function that they have in the film.
It could also be said that Morpheus handles Neo’s destiny. The beginning of this unimaginable crossing is remote to the scene where he made Neo choose between the red pill and blue pill. But, what is the meaning of those? Why was this decision extremely relevant? The pills represent an election we have to make between knowing the truth of reality (red pill), which is harsh and difficult or maintaining our complete ignorance of the world (blue pill), which is way more comfortable. “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”. – Morpheus to Neo. If we lead this to a philosophical perspective, we are faced with the deeper meaning of the selection. The dilemma is: do we agree with living an ignorant life as long as we are happy? Or will we prefer to search and find the truth even if it will be difficult to assume? It is a personal option which each society or individual make every day.
Our current life is directly reflected in “The Matrix” too, no matter the date, year or century, Matrix should continue to be considered as a true example of how philosophy is present everywhere. “the idea of reading “The Matrix” is not as containing a consistent philosophical discourse, but as rendering, in their very inconsistencies, the antagonisms of our ideological and social predicament”. This how Matrix should be denoted, it is more than simple forms of philosophy, it’s also how the reality is comprehended dividing the world into two opposes sides. It is good or bad, high or low, heaven or hell, new or old, true or false. Everything tends to have two faces. “To be or not to be”. However, normally the options exist but in the end, each one leads to an opposite extreme. Reading the news, selecting which information is relevant, which issues deserve attention and time,social movements, revolutions, simple things as preferences, behaviors, likes, inclinations, the way we have to get home, what we eat, what we think, absolutely everything, no matter how minimal and insignificant it seems, could take us to an endless number of “realities”.
It should be noted that like any movie, any artistic piece, just a glance is not enough. Revising each detail could lead in discovering much more essential information. The option to consider the background of the truth as presented in the film, not just a simple story, but as a proof that we have a choice. “The Matrix” and its philosophical issues had been compared and analyzed. Aspects as religion, Greek mythology, “red pill and blue pill” idea and lastly Plato’s allegory of the cave were explained. We either could accept our roles as slaves of the machine, or we can reinvent ourselves as philosophers as the Matrix style. The first and last day of the rest of the life need not begin and end in Plato’s Cave. Thereby is how life should work.
Views of Plato on Marriage in Republic
Marriage – the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman). When two people make a public pledge or commitment to each other to share and live their lives together that is recognised socially, legally and sometimes religiously. According to many Christian denominations, a marriage is a union between a man and woman, instituted and ordained by God as the lifelong relationship between one man as husband, and one woman as wife.In ancient Greek culture, the purpose of marriage was to reproduce, establish a family, and to have heirs who would carry on the family name,lineage and memory. In Plato’s days there was no prejudice against men having sex with other men. Sex with the same gender was quite common and accepted in the Greek culture, but men did not marry other men. Because there would be no conception and birth so marriage was not necessary. Plato is one of the most influential philosophers in the world. He has contributed in many fields like ethics, metaphysics, cosmology, politics, etc. One of his most famous works is the Republic, which contains how a philosopher runs a wise society. From his works it’s assumed that Plato never married or have any offsprings.
Plato viewed marriage in a unconventional way, it was a bit different from the original concept of marriage. According to his depictions of an ideal state, the state should monitor and have a control over human reproduction. As per the philosophy of eugenics, temporary marriages shall be arranged in a festival, where the matches shall be chosen by the selected Rulers. Plato understood that this would not be accepted by the common people so it was done in secret. In Plato’s republic a number system was introduced in which your mate would be chosen by selecting a ‘marriage number.’ According to this concept the people with similar qualities will be matched together so that they can procreate. Everyone chose the names from the lot and the mate they get is chosen by God himself and if you draw a blank you are considered unfit for offsprings. Plato also wanted the offsprings to be taken away from the biological parents and wanted them to be raised in common nurseries. Plato’s reason for restructuring marriage was to abolish the concept of private family and to give power to the state, to discourage personal interest and to encourage common good and to increase the strength in the state. The reason was also to improve human conditions, the logic behind it was if people with good qualities bred then the outcome would also be good. His main aim was to bring unity among people and to have atleast some citizens in the state who had the best interest of the state. His main idea behind this was to find the best race, and the best people for this society.
However, Plato realised his error that even though people with similar qualities mated, it’s not necessary that the offspring would have those ‘golden’ qualities of the parents. Aristotle also firmly criticized this theory of Plato. He said that this theory of Plato was unworkable. As Plato has not taken into consideration the fact that natural love a parent would have towards his or her child and the emotions associated. Plato had assumed that the love for family can be transferred to the fellow citizens. Plato himself never married and he never thought that love was necessary for a marriage. He viewed the institution of marriage only as a means to procreate and to establish a family.