Plato vs. Aristotle

Topics: Platonism, Aristotle, Plato Pages: 3 (1060 words) Published: April 30, 2014
Both Plato and Aristotle are extremely famous and credible philosophers who have very different views on this idea of Forms and the concept of knowledge. Plato first introduces this Theory of Forms, where he recognizes Forms to be the one source to all of knowledge. He describes and explains this theory in many of his works including Phaedo and the allegory of the cave. Then Aristotle criticizes and challenges this idea in his work, Nicomachean Ethics. While both philosophers have extremely persuasive arguments with plenty of details and examples supporting their beliefs, after reading about and comparing both sides of the dispute, I am more on Aristotle’s side. Plato asserts that the study of forms is the only way to receive genuine knowledge. In Phaedo, Plato introduces an argument called the Theory of Recollection. In this theory he says, “for us learning is no other than recollection” (72e). In other words, he means that we all have knowledge of these Forms from even before we are born, and as we are going through the process of learning, we recollect and get to know that knowledge again. In addition, the main point of this theory is that the interactions we have with things in this world do not provide us with knowledge, but simply leads us to the knowledge of the Forms, which is the only real and genuine knowledge that we can obtain. This idea of the Forms being the greatest underlying source to knowledge is also supported by the allegory of the cave from The Republic. In this famous analogy, Plato explains the lack of education in our world. This analogy is about a group of people who have lived their whole lives bound in a cave facing a wall. The closest thing to reality that they are able to experience is the shadows that are casted from the fire and statues behind them. Then one of the prisoners is freed, and he is the first one to look at the fire and the statues that created the shadow. At this moment, he is confused, but then realizes that the...
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