Biography of Plato


Although both Plato and Aristotle had a similar childhood and upraising and followed some of the same footprints both Aristotle and Plato share both many different moral and beliefs on certain issues such as epistemology, cosmology and body and soul theory. In Plato’s republic, Plato shows in the allegory of the cave many things that of which his beliefs on epistemology as he uses the cave to show the peoples shadows cast on the walls as a comparison as that’s all they can see so in turn the shadows are what the people see in our world. Plato also shows the chains to the stereotypical customs and norms, and because people are so busy with the shadows they ignore what is real. On the other hand Aristotle based things on what he could see and what had been shown.

In his time Aristotle never met a purely just man, and there had been no sign of a purely justice man in history so he does not exist. Another topic Aristotle and Plato differ is in cosmology or the study of the physical universe as a phenomenon. Plato as many in his time believed in many gods’, of which one created the cosmos but he believes that the god did not make it out of nothing but things were already there because world was in the same of a sphere so in some sense was always perfect. On the other hand Aristotle states that the world did not come to be at one point but rather was already there to some degree for all eternity. Finally Plato and Aristotle contrast in the body and soul theory as Plato saw the body and soul as two different things. Plato believed there were two different worlds, a unreal world of the senses(where we live now) and the real world of ideal forms(where the soul originated) While Aristotle’s theory was based on the ideas of the relation of body and soul and how it was more generally a relation to form and matter.

In Plato’s rebublic he discusses many things one of the main ideas was the idea of justice and what is juicte? At the begging of the first chapter Plato with a group of men poses the question of jusice and discusses what it truly means. Although Plato himself never gives jis actual definition of justice rather he has each man give their own definition and he points out the flaws of each. The first man to speak was Cephalus a respect wealthy gentleman, he dines justice as a attempt to to articulate the basic Hesiodic conception: that justice means living up to your legal obligations and being honest. Plato disproves this idea by giving the example of the mad man where in a sense it is the right thing to return a weapon to a madman because he owns the weapon and to some sense it belongs to him legally even though you know that by giving him the weapon beack is unjust because it threatns the life of others. In doing so Plato proves jusice cannot be nothing more than fol lowing the rules obligations and being honoset. The next man to speak was the first mans son and he explains justice, justice means that you owe friends help, and you owe enemies harm. Once again Plato disproves this idea by saying that in everyday life people do not always aaociate themselves with the best of people or friends and in this idea of justice sometimes people would be helping the bad and hurting the good time tpo time because sometimes yor enemeies are not the worst of people and your friends are not the best. Finally having become fed up of the arugument Thrasymachus inturpts and gives his definition as Justice is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger. He believes that it does not pay to be just. And he only thing that happens by being just is the benefit of other people and not yourself Lastly . Thrasymachus assumes here that justice is the unnatural and goes against our natural desire to have more. And the best thing to do is to ignore it because it does not in any way benit us to follow it. Once again rather than giving his own defntion of justice tells why Thrasymachus is wrong by givng three reasons. First he says that his idea make the idea of injustice a virtue and in some ways he glorifies it. And that by promting it its giving people the idea that its how has the most is the most virtuiest and trt to get as much property or money that you cn while here on earth. Second Plato explains jutice as to following some sort of rules which allow the groip to function so in doing so the only wat to reach the ultimate goal is to follow some sort of rules. Lastly he argues that it was said justie is a vitue of the ssoul, and by being virtuiols the soul was healthy and this is most diseable by the soul so by behaving badly the soul will in turn suffer. Finally after the conversation wraps up one of Plato’s young companions says states that all goods can be divided into three classes: things that we desire only for their consequences, such as physical training and medical treatment; things that we desire only for their own sake, such as joy; and things we desire both for their own sake and for what we get from them, such as knowledge, sight, and health. Glaucon proves his point by sharing the story of Gyges Ring, the story went a man is given a ring which makes him invisible, so once than man is givne the ring he can act unjustly and gain all he ateralsticy item he could pocess without getting in trouble. This tale he said proves that people are only just because they fear only the punishment by being unjust not by being unjust as there is nothing disearble by being just. Glaucon concludes by saying people prefer to be unjust, but its just not rational to do so, and he argues a unjust life is more pleasant then a just life.

Plato believed that every human being on earth processed three souls, that of which correspond to the three classes of citizens within the state. The rational soul which is the mind, where it serves as the thinking part of each of us and distinguishes between what is real and what is not. The next is the spirted soul or free will to carry out everyday life and where it is there to carry out what the mind thinks is best. Lastly is the appetitive soul which is the emoinal part where each of us wants and feels things. And plato argues that it is only when the three souls are functioning as one in harmony is the human being just.

One of Plato’s most regoncible example of his views can be sen in the “Allegory of the cave” which served as a metaphor to contrast the way in which we perceive and believe in what is reality. Plato used the cave as much more than just a cave but a symbol life and his basic background of what he believes in. Plato showed his ideas as humans inside the cave where in some ways they were imprisoned by their bodies and saw only what they could perceive by sight only, and due to the fact they are chained and can only see so far they are basically controlled, and Plato basically says that because of the situation the prisoners are mistaken to what is reality really is.

Another topic Plato discussed was the simile of the divided line. Plato divides reality into two major groups, the Intelligible Realm and the Visible Rhealm. The Intelligible Realm is accessible through the mind and contain idas and concepts known as forms such as forms of good and forms of mathmetics and science. Next is the Visible Rhealm which is seen through the fiver senses and contains all phycisal matter and objects such as nature , animals and objecys as well as shadows, reflections and images.

Another topic Plato discussed in the Rebblic was the noble lie of men. In this Plato describes a city where the people where organized into categories such as rulers, auxillaries or famers. The rulers or Guardians would be chosen from the military elite becuae they were good at looing at the best intrrst of the city. The auxillaries would then become guardians in traing. At this time the rulers must then tell the city the noble lie for there best intrest. The noble lie was what was told to the people of the city as they were not put into the social classes because of their own control but by what god wanted for them. The lie was hat as children god put either gold, silver or iron in the persons soul as those metals determin their class in society. The rulers told the familes wheater there childenr contained bronze or iron and if so they would drop drastically in ranks and if they told them there was gold they would become guardians instantly. Plato believed the lie was nessiary because it kept the social structure stable as the people believed god choice theiur destiny as so they were happy in their situation. And because there wer not many people cabable of looking after the cities best intrst the noble lie had to continue.

Both the education and lifestyle of the Guardians is like that unlike anything seen today according to plato the guardians must have some sort of physical education In this phyical triand the guardians would get an idea of the nesseities of war rather than just sport. It is greatly emphized the idea of blance in music and poerty along side phyical traing as to much phycial traing will make the guardians beast while to much music and art will make them unfit or too soft. Another sort of traing the guardians are required in medical traing where doctors are trrained to cure the healthy and curable not the uncurable. And those who are dealthly ill must be left to wait and die. As for the lifestyle Male amd femlaes were both trained along side and got the same education and prepared for the same roles ven though plato agreed man and woman are two completely different natures. For the guardians sexual intercorse was only allowes to be taken place in certin times throughout the year at what they called festiviles where male and females were put together and made husabnd and wifes only for the festitles designed to conceieve a child, once born the childen are taken away so now one ones there real parents at any time two individuals have a child not in the festile times the child would be killed. In order to make sure that the community of guardians did not have incest every child born within seven and ten months must consume their own. Plato argued this was the only way to ensure the city to run smoothly where loyalty would not be dived and everyone in a sense is a family where everyone is equal and share all the same common outlook and concerns

To conclude his argument that about justice and how a just life is more favorable he shares the myth of Er. Where a fallen solider in war named Er where he will receive reward in after life. According to the myth Er really did not die but instead is sent to heaven to watch all that happens and observe virtue. In this myth people are either rewarded in heaven or punished in hell for the choices in their life for 1000 years and then are given the choice to become a human or animal in their next life and depending how their past life was that life will determine whether it will be a good or bad next life

Aristotle was a great philosopher that believed many things some of which are closely related to Plato but mostly in a sense greatly different. In arguably Aristoile’s greatest work Aristole’s Politics he outlines his basic beliefs and principles in both contrast and comparssion to plato. Aristolte believed many was by nature a poltical animal and that man can only be happy and achieve the good life by living in harmony as citizens within a state. Aristole defined a community as a collection of parts having some functions in common such as households, or economic classes or plotical units and within the city it is composed of indivdual citizens and with them and the natural resources or material things that makes up the state. Aristolte was also a great believer that the body and soul were two completely different things because the body is matter while the soul is form. Aristole believed that everything not just people were made up of both matter and form and that he did not favor either way that the soul is better and the body is almost trapt. Aristole believed everything is something and was orgaized in a certin way, and he believed the soul without the body of vise versa is irational.
Aristolte believed the orgin of the state as a poltical community aimed at acheving the highest good. As to the relation of the family and village with the state aristole believed tht different kind of associations xist are founded becuae of different relationships. The basic assocation is the household, the village and finally the most important is the city where people who want to gain the the best life go. Aristole believed it was only within the city people could relize their true nture and outside of it there could be considerd worse than animas. Within the houise hold aristole believes there are three kind of relationships the master to slave, husband to wife and parent to child. Although aristole did nto himself believe in slavary he did in a sense that some people were slaves by nature and it was ok to be ruled, and this relates to the body and soul as the ,master pocesses powers as the slave lacks all of those and is left to perfom his duties. Regarding th houshold make up Aristole believe than women were ranked higher than slaves but not as much as men That the husband and wife share some of the same basic free’s but the male by naure is more fit to run and lead the family then the wife so that is why the husband not the wife who leads the household.

Aristole believed greatly that friends were a big component of the good ife and regarded it as a vital part of human mortality. He believed justice was concerned with smooth running and fairnss of personal relations. Aristole claimed justice in the exchange of property requires careful understading in order to preserve equity.

Arisole believed that there were six kinds of constitutions, three that were just and three that were unjust. He belived that a city is just when it bemefits eberytone in it but uinjust when it only benefits those who have power. Aristole states when a single person rules a consution it is a monachry if they are good and they are a tyranny is they are bad. When a small group rules it is a aristocracy and a oligarchy if they rule badly. And when a mass rule a constition it is a polity if they rule well and a democracy is they rule badly. Aristole belioevd that a polity is the least susepile to corruption as it gives the laws to higher authority then the governing body while giving the power to the governing body it gives more room abuse and corruption. Aristole purposed a distributive justice that benefirs should be advised differenlt to different citizens depending on the make up and well being of the sate.

As much as they might share in common at times Aristole many different views on issues and one of those is Plato’s ideal state in the Rebublic.Plato believde that people should share as much as possible including wives, children and even property and the goal of the city is to achieve as much unity as possible. Aristole believed that it was very dangerous to leave the city in the hands of one class. And that in platos ideal state it deprives the guardians and by doing so the whole rebublicis deprived of happiness and goes against the idea of asssocation Arisole also believd that thi system was bad because people must have different roles within the city and contribute different hings in order for the city to run at its best and remain self sufficient. Aristole finds for major flaws in Palto’s ideas one Plato’s city required a huge amount of land but in no way planned to insure safety with his neighboirrs, two generocity should be the main principle of gaing wealth, third plato conrxts himself by saying land should be divided into even spaces and distbuted between the people but made no plans on population growth and lastly plato aimed at a balnced government but inturn ends up with a oligracy.

Aristole on the the other hand believed the ideal city should be made in order to insure the happiness of all the citizens with in the community. In his city Aristole would make sure it was large enough to insure it would remian self sfficent but still small enough to ensure fellow feeling. Aristole though that the ideal city should be located by water to allow easier sea commerece. He believed young me should serve in the military while middle aged men govern the city and the older men take care of all the relgious affiars and the bad jobs remain for the non citizens where they take cvare of farming and crafts. In his ideal state Aristole believed education was very important insuring a well run city, and he peferd a public program to private turoting. Aristole beliebvd care should be taken from the time they are in the womb through cildhood to be taught the right way and to be a better contrubtor in society. And finally Arsitole was a big bievler in reading in writing as well as physical educaton and art and drwaling. He believed this kind of educatrion was benefical to make the best out of each person and make the best out of their time of both work andd play to insure the good life.
Aristole believd that the city varied greatly depending on the wealth, population and mau others. Aristole founf that the major downfall in any city is the tension between the rich and the poor, and that it is the middle class that keeps the cityu in equlabrium and helps fight agains coruption and opression. There are three branches of government the civic government are the deliberative, which makes most of the the major political decisions of the state; the executive, which help to run the day-to-day business with in the state; and the judicial, which delas with the legal affairs of the state. Aristole believd that It was not smart to disclude any one from public office because those are the peopl most of the time that rise against the government. So Aristoles recomfation was moderati, education and inclusiveness and that evertoyn the rich the poor and minortiy can be balanced by equal amount of power. So everyone is in a sense equal but balancwed with one in another

Although both Plato’s Rebublic and Aristolte’s Poltics differ in many ways and share drastic view points and ideas they both In a sense share some of the same common grounds such as both looked to improving society although plato was more concerned with finding the perfect utopian socity and aristole knew there was no such thing and the best you can do is look to improve wjay is already there they both produced blueprints and showed what need to be done In order to have the society run and interact best. They both looked in the best interests of the citizens and wanted the city to run and its best and reach maximum happiness for the inhabitanyts. Both Plato and Aristole believd greatly in the idea of justice and allow thry both do not give a official defntion for them selves they both share the idea that justice exists in a objective sense and that it is there to insure the good life of all individuals no matter the class they are in wheather it is rich or poor. And no matter their viewpoint on the idea of justice for both it is used to insure equality. Even though Aristole found many flaws in P;ato’s idea of the perfect state it can be said that both aristole and plato shared the common ground in finding ways to best build a better socirty t live in and ry to insure a better future and both had a major impact on poltical scienstis as well as manuy individuals and still remain today two of the most inflnetial physphers of all time and both Aristole’s Poltics and Plato’s Rebublic have stood the test of time and each have many good tid bits to share and still relate to the world today.

For my evualtion of both Aristole (Aristole’s Poltics) and Plato (Plato’s Rebublic) I would say in this ssesmster I learned many new things and ways of thinking that I was not normally use to see things in, but overall all I would saw in some sense I really like what both have to say but in some cases I still feel thayt they were truly dead wrong on the issue. What I really found myself asking as I wrote on both Plato and Aristole where still around today during modern times if today that they would change some of their outlooks and viewpoints. But overall im really glad I took this class because it really opened my mind to a new way of thinking if other wise I never would of gotten and taught me to think of things not just of normal thinking but in some cases out od the box.

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