In this essay I will be arguing against Plato’s theory of knowledge given in the Republic’s divided line. I will distinguish the differences and similarities in the epistemological concepts of Plato and Aristotle intending to explain how one comes to have knowledge and the process through which it’s obtained. As support, I will explain Plato’s theory of forms and Aristotle’s theory of essence because they are a direct correlation to their view of knowledge through reality. Plato’s theory of Forms is a theory of knowledge and a theory of being. He describes, in the divided line, the division of existence. Plato believes the source of our knowledge is separate from this world. Participation connects us to this world. In the divided line he separates the visible and the intelligible or becoming and being. The top half is knowledge and the bottom half as opinion. The bottom half represent the lesser of reality, which includes perception and imagination, along with physical objects and shadows. The upper half includes metaphysics, higher forms, mathematical forms, epistemology, understanding and thinking. His theory of Forms involves images, sensible objects, concrete forms and abstract forms. Images are the lowest form of knowledge. Images only provide us with opinion and imagination. Sensible objects comes next which provides us with seeing something and having a belief about it by sensing it and perceiving it. Concrete forms allow us understanding, meaning we understand the parts of X by thinking. Finally, the highest form is the abstract form which is the most essential ‘pure thought’ of what X is. To Plato, this Essence is eternal and unchanging, making it necessary and true. According to Plato we know X, if and only if we have a direct grasp of X’s form or essence. Let’s break this argument down. So Imagination is a state of mind which takes sensible moral notions at face value just as it does sensible appearances or forms of the world at face value. For example, if you are viewing a palm tree you are using your imagination and Plato says is our opinion about what we are viewing, a palm tree. So imagination is perception and not knowledge. If A (Imagination is taking sensible notions and appearances or forms of the world at face value) then B (imagination is perception). A⊃ B
Using our common sense we have belief in the reality of the visible objects and concrete moral teachings (sufficient guide for action) without knowledge of the reason for such beliefs. Belief is faith and conviction, not knowledge. If C (Using our common sense we have belief in the reality of the visible objects and concrete moral teachings (sufficient guide for action) without knowledge of the reason for such beliefs) then D (belief is faith and conviction). C ⊃D
If A (Imagination is taking sensible notions and appearances or forms of the world at face value), B (Imagination is perception), C (Using our common sense we have belief in the reality of the visible objects and concrete moral teachings (Sufficient guide for action) and D (Belief is faith and conviction), then E (Belief and imagination are opinion and not knowledge).
A B C D ⊃ E
A B C D
Thinking is reasoning from premise to conclusion. This reasoning is the bridge from opinion to knowledge that is brought on by higher education, especially mathematics because pure mathematics and applied mathematics are tools used to understand X. Therefore, thinking is only understanding, not knowledge. So if F(thinking is reasoning from premise to conclusion and uses tools to gain understanding) then G(thinking is understanding). F⊃ G
From the “Good” or Episteme comes from intellect which consist of reason and dialect. This comes from philosophic conversation (dialect) by question and answer seeking (reasoning) an “account” of X. Therefore, knowledge or Episteme is the form of the ‘good’. So, If H (knowledge comes from philosophic conversation (dialect) by...
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