ROLE OF THE STATE
This paper is being submitted on August 22, 2013
Role of the State
Plato’s thought represents an essential aspect of Modern Europe’s classical heritage. His complex and changing notions of identity and difference, his views of the connection between body and soul, passion and reason, and his own varying assessment of the theory of Forms, as refracted through Aristotle’s critique of all these concepts, have laid the groundwork of Western logic, metaphysics and political theory until modern times. Yet, in assessing what modern European owes to its classical heritage, we need to confront the fact that Plato and Aristotle stood opposed to both the major philosophical and political tendencies of modern liberalism and the more recent theoretical attempts such as deconstruction, Marxism and Feminism to undermine those liberal beliefs. The positions of Plato and Aristotle on nearly all of these issues are concentrated in their respective critiques of democracy.
Both Plato and Aristotle based their theories on four widely accepted beliefs of the time; knowledge must be of what is real, the world experienced via the senses is what is real, knowledge must be of what is fixed and unchanging, the world experienced via the senses is not fixed and unchanging. These points led to a skeptic point of view which both philosophers wished to target as both agreed knowledge is possible. In order to overcome this contradiction in the argument it became necessary that each philosopher choose a point to disregard and prove to be unnecessary. Plato chose to reject the claim that the world experienced through the senses is what is real; while Aristotle rejected the claim that knowledge must be of what is fixed and unchanging. This presented problems to be overcome by each philosopher: Plato had to give an account of where knowledge could be found while Aristotle had to account for how to have knowledge of that which is undergoing change. This is...
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