The Questioning Methods Employed by Socrates and Plato

Topics: Aristotle, Meaning of life, Plato Pages: 5 (1923 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Socrates and Plato used critical and analytical thinking patterns in their philosophical quest for knowledge. The questioning of why and how or critical and analytical thinking are the foundations of their beliefs. Plato was the student and Socrates the teacher. Socrates believed that reasoning could give meaning to the what, how and why of moral judgment and Plato believed this type of reasoning would give understanding to “the perfect Goodness” (pg. 17). Plato believed that this kind of thinking and rational could only be used by a minority that possessed this perfect Goodness understanding. He believed that the rules of morality were objective or something that could be applied to everyone everywhere and all the time. This was absolute and unconditional. I did find it fascinating how Plato description of the Greek democracy's form of government closely mirrored our own Republican party, whereas those who pursued politics only do so for power, wealth or fame. How this was not in the interest of everyone, but rather how the Athenian democracy gave rule to the few by “irrationally swaying the votes of the many by manipulating their fears and emotions” (pg.17). Emotions are what ruled the unthinking mobs of voters in democracy instead of reasoning. But Plato's dislike for this type of government only came about mainly because of the condemnation of Socrates to death by the Athenian democracy. Thus his idea of a wise minority was better than majority. Metaphysics became a resounding theory in his ideology questioning the ultimate nature of reality and questioning why the world is as it is. He believed that if something is true than it is always true, for example the sun rises and the sun sets. Plato also had the “realm of Forms” belief that even if it wasn't relative that didn't make it untrue. Simply truth, beauty or justice were example of knowledge of forms, Plato argued, and each no one can touch or see but are there and are innately placed. His thoughts on human actions was to know why someone does what they do and the purpose behind it. The final ends. Wisdom is the final need of all humans that would give them a good life. “Reason is the highest development of a person's personality and produces the happiest and best life for a human being.” (pg. 21). The human self Plato describes is made up of only two things reason and desires. Reason being the physical aspect of ourselves and desires are what is connected to our senses. But reason must dictate to desires and passions. Drug or alcohol use would be an example. Each, to some, are pleasurable to use, but reason must dictate how much to use as not to be destructive to ones self. Plato's example of the chariot driver helped me to better understand his rational. “The horses move the chariot; similarly, appetite and desire motivate a person—wanting things makes you do something” (pg.27). Moderation in Intellectual and physical pleasures are important. Wisdom is what drives our soul and being evil only hurts our soul. We strive for internal harmony and the only way we can achieve harmony is becoming the good and happy person. The next in line for western philosophy is Aristotle. He was taught by Plato who followed Socrates teachings. Although he studied under Plato, he still did not wholly believe in all of Plato's teachings. Blind faith is something Aristotle did not have when dealing with his teacher. “Unlike Plato, who had a tendency to seek the solutions to human existence in an unchanging realm beyond human existence (the Forms), Aristotle did not look somewhere where eternal truths reign” (pg. 36). He placed his theory in science or the ultimate truths in the world. Knowledge is only as good as it is to adapt to the changing world. His ideology was for us to develop into the best and most excellent we could be within ourselves. Character dictates morality not Forms, as Plato believed. Everything has a purpose or function is something...
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