SWA #2

This one is regarding the differences between Aristotle and Plato and their metaphysics.

Essentially, they believe the opposite of one another. Though Aristotle was a student of Plato’s, he disagreed with Plato’s basis of which everything exists. Plato says that the only real things are the “Forms”. Meaning the essence of things, like “The Form of Beauty” or “beauty itself” (Plato, The Republic, pp. 507b), are the building blocks of reality, without which, there would be nothing. If there were no beauty in the world or universe, the form of beauty would still exist. All beautiful things have in common the form or essence of beauty. Aristotle, on the other hand, would say there is only the form of beauty because there are beautiful things in the world/universe. If everything considered beautiful were to cease to exist, so would beauty itself.

I would say the key difference between the two philosophies is that Aristotle believes that individuals are the building blocks of reality and the basis of which all things are, whereas Plato believes the building blocks are the “Forms” or ideas that allow the individual to exist.

Personally, I agree the most with Aristotle. I have a very materialistic mind set regarding existence and the basis of reality. If I can touch it, taste it, smell it, see it, then it must be real. I have a hard time believing that beauty or justice would still exist if all things beautiful or just ceased to exist. In front of me, I have this laptop that I am using to record my ideas. Behind this laptop is my dad’s laptop, and my boyfriend is using his laptop. They are all laptops. How do I know that they are all laptops? They are all made if similar material: plastic, metal, electronic parts. They all have a screen attached to a keyboard, all have the same English letters in the same QWERTY style. “Of things themselves some are [said of]* a subject, and are never present in a subject” (Aristotle, Categories, Part 2). My laptop, and these other laptops are considered a type of computer, they relate to the “said of/not present in” category because you cannot have a laptop with the existence of the computer. Take the “computer” out and all I have is plastic and metal and electrical parts all piled together. If all laptops and computers and the like were to suddenly vanish or be destroyed, I’m sorry Plato, but the “essence of computer itself” would no longer exist. If the human race were wiped out, then somehow restarted from scratch, how do we know they would follow the exact same path that we did?

I feel like this ideal flows into my belief in a god or gods. That last question “how do we know?” is what always gets me. I feel something had to have started the process of the universe. You cannot get something from nothing. But whether or not there is eternal salvation or damnation of sorts, how do we know? My personal belief is we cannot know until we experience it for ourselves. I suppose then I feel knowledge is essentially a posteriori (at least in regards to God and religious stuffs).

I understand I got slightly derailed right there, however the last class we talked about these things and they always fascinate me.

So there you have it. Aristotle > Plato.

*Aristotle uses the term “predicable of”, however I don’t like big fancy words, and I understand “said of” better so I’m using it.

SWA#1

I believe that an introduction to philosophy course should be required. It broadens the students’ horizons and develops the necessary critical thinking skills that drive us toward more successful lives. Not only that, but it also has lead to the advancements of knowledge and societies in the past. Without philosophy, we would not have many of our modern sciences. Mathematics, psychology, astronomy: they all started as a form of philosophy. Only when we get a definite, irrefutable answer to our philosophical questions do we create a new science. Therefore, in order to advance our knowledge as a society we must ponder the questions brought forth by philosophical minds. Now, that’s not to say that we should only ponder things we feel may be answered. Every question is worth exploring, no matter the chances of answers. My favorite quote from the two readings was one from Plato’s The Apology. Socrates is speaking to the court about his reasoning for examining the citizens, “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Plato, The Apology, 38). It is so simple, yet so profound. Why go through life ignorant of yourself and your surroundings? Without the critical thinking skills and expansion of our way of thinking, we cannot hope to develop as a society. Furthermore, the skills we learn in philosophy, and the questions we bring up, can be applied in other courses during a student’s academic career. I am taking a Sociology class along side this one that is examining deviant behavior. I have found many of the philosophical terms and ideals carrying over into this class. I feel that phrase “Ignorance is bliss” is very misleading. The word “bliss” makes it sound so happy. But where do you get joy from not knowing? Maybe it’s just me, but I think if I were not allowed or able to question things or learn things, I wouldn’t be too happy. I correlate the word ignorance with, really, idiotic or not having any knowledge of anything. I, personally, get a sense of wonder at the contemplation of life, the universe, and everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference). I often find myself sitting and trying to imagine what nothing looks like. By that I mean “nothingness”. The absence of anything, light, matter, sound, color. I find that I cannot really know what nothingness is like because I have never experienced it. Maybe, in that sense, we can’t really “know” anything without having experienced it for our selves….. A posteriori for the win!!! So, in summary I suppose, philosophy should be required for any and all higher education degrees. Without it, how do we know that we know what we know, you know?

Intro to Philosophy

Hi stalkers! I’m back!

I am now making what I hope will be my final attempt to reenter the world of higher education. I am taking a philosophy class that is requiring my to do a few short writing assignments. Our instructor gave us the option to post them via blog.

Seeing as I having been on here in too long and I am most comfortable writing in the form, I accepted that challenge!!!

So you will be seeing some smarty-pants philosophical posts from me a now and then for a while. I hope you enjoy. 🙂

TTYL

PS: The entries will be aptly titled SWA#_ (_ being the number of the assignment)

PPS: That PS was mostly for my instructor.