Plato's Beliefs on Knowledge
October 10, 2013
Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived 428-348BC and was a student of Socrates's. Plato had many ideas that lead to greater discovery in several branches of philosophy, however, this essay will focus on his theories involving knowledge. Plato believed that real knowledge was understanding, that knowledge and perception are the same and that knowledge requires explaination.
Plato defined knowledge as, "justified true belief," which states that in order to know that a given proposition is true, one must not only believe the relevant true proposition, but one must also have justification for doing so. This means that when we are presented a fact, that in order for it to become knowledge, we have to accept that it is fact and be able to explain why. Justification in itself is defined as the reason why someone believes something. Plato believed that you could not have knowledge without that justification. On the contrary, Aristotle, one of Plato's students, believed that knowledge was gained by experience and that we must think deeply to understand why things happen the way that they do.
Plato thought that perception was infallible and and also the only form of cognition. He explained his belief that one person's perception of something is how it is perceived only by that specific person. For example, if water in a tub seems cold to one person, it may only seem cold to that person. Plato's book Theaetetus contains the following quote, "It seems to me that one who knows something is perceiving the thing he knows, and, so far as I can see at present, knowledge is nothing but perception." This quote demonstrates Plato's belief by saying that Plato can see that someone knows something simply by having perceived it, and hence we cannot know something we have not perceived either by experience or by being told by someone else. Plato made several other points similar to this one in his book, as well as...
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