Critical Analysis of Plato and Aristotle

Topics: Plato, Scientific method, Epistemology Pages: 4 (1537 words) Published: October 1, 2012
Introduction to Philosophy
Critical Analysis Essay

In ancient Greece, the value of truth was a highly ascertained goal sought out by the most influential minds of the time. Both Plato and Aristotle, followers of Socrates and the Sophists, were certainly among the forerunners in this pursuit. They both developed new theories on systems of thought based on the new ideas presented by the Sophists. Plato took into account Socrates’ concepts and expanded upon them, passing along his thought/knowledge to Aristotle. In his own pursuit of the truth, Aristotle was not afraid to prove his teacher wrong and go against his theories. For instance, Aristotle boldly states his own theory of universals and systematically debunks Plato’s theory of universals in the Posterior Analytics and the Metaphysics. While Aristotle doesn’t fully contradict Plato in his theory, he does disagree on some major points, such as the nature of universals and particulars. Regardless of the particular differentiations of the details or natures of these concepts, they both agree that universals and particulars exist in the world. While Plato himself even addresses the holes in his own logic, I see problems in more than just the holes. Plato’s argument for the existence of universals and particulars (and by extension, the soul) is foundationally flawed. Plato was the first person to posit the real existence of abstract entities that can’t be perceived with the senses. He called these entities ‘Forms’ (which ultimately are the proto-theory to universals). For him, the Forms are transcendent of time and space, pure, and unchanging. They are the ultimate reality of the universe and provide a pure, abstract model for all manifestations of each Form in the physical world, which are called particulars. This concept first appears in the Meno where Plato speaks about virtue and the Form of Virtue but is not explained until the Republic where he lays out exactly what particulars and forms are...
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