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Questions tagged [plato]

Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) was a Classical Greek philosopher, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Plato is considered to be the founder of Western philosophy.

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What were Plato's views on substance?

Forms are Plato’s substances, for everything derives its existence from Forms. In this sense of ‘substance’ any realist philosophical system acknowledges the existence of substances. Probably the ...
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Does “Binary Exam” make philosophical sense? [closed]

My teacher gives what he calls "binary exams" where student either gets 100 or get 0. He said that this is consistent with his belief in absolute truth (like some sort of "platonic ideal") in that a ...
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Sources on greek philosophers

There are many books written by Plato and Aristotle. I was wondering if there are any good books that capture the central ideas and themes of these two philosophers?
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Does Plato relatively upgrade democracy between the Republic and the Laws?

Does Plato actually lean more towards democracy in the Laws? III.693d ff. suggest an upgrading of democracy's relative position from its low status in the Republic.
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Plato's Phaedo : Why does the soul stay separate from the body?

In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates established that death is the separation of soul and body. But he did not give any clue for this separation. What are the factors that lead to this separation? Physical ...
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From dialogue to monologue : Why (Platonic) Socrates claims to know nothing but manages to give book-length speeches all the time?

This inconsistency is very confusing to me. Socrates takes pride in knowing that he knows nothing. But if that is the case, how is he able to, as he often does, give book-length of "truth" (as opposed ...
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Role of death in literal interpretation of recurrent dream in Plato's Phaedo

What is the role of perception of death that Socrates soon had to face in his new literal interpretation of this dream? Why not throughout his life he did not take the instruction of making and ...
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How does Socrates's acting on a dream in Plato's Phaedo square with his rationality?

Socrates is a symbol of rational thinking. He called himself a lover of wisdom. But, on the other hand, he started to make music (poetry/composing) just on the direction of a voice that he heard in ...
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What is the relationship between knowledge and light that Plato presents in the Cave Allegory in Book Seven of his Republic?

I think: Light represents truth in the allegory. The prisoners only see shadows that are cast by light but are never able to see the source of that light. How about you?
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Plato's cave in reality

Does anyone know the system we live in? Is it something abstract like that described in the movie The Matrix? It exists. Why does it cost others their lives like Socrates? Lastly, do philosophers ...
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Plato or Aristotle on trading lives

I am sure I remember either Plato or Aristotle saying that most people, if a god approached them with an offer to trade their life for someone else's, would run away. But I have been wrong before ...
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Help with philosophical interpretation of the movie Cloud Atlas

I feel very sorry to ask for this but I really need help, I have a hard time getting an answer to what I need for my metaphysical essay related to the movie "Cloud Atlas", I have seen it several times ...
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What is an example of an innate idea?

I don't see any justification to argue a person has an idea or knowledge that is not derived from its environment. How come Plato raised this question at all: How is it that we have certain ideas ...
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Why is Plato's Idealism and German Idealism so different?

Plato's Idealism seems to imply an objectivity and an anti-pluralism, instead rationalizing forms into main groups yet German Idealism seems to do just the opposite. I was wondering why the use of the ...
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Question about the Argument of Recollection from Plato's Phaedo

Under the argument of recollection, what would the answer to the following scenario? A young child has not learned a single thing about geometrical shapes. If a person were to draw a triangle and ...
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Are Platonic Forms alive?

Reading Dominic J. O'Meara's Plotinus, I noticed that he seems to be claiming that Plotinus looked at the Soul, Forms and the One as active and in some sense alive. However, I am trying to get a ...
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In the socratic dialogues, what figure argues in bad faith against Socrates?

If I remember correctly, one of Socrates' interlocutors challenged the Socratic method not directly but indirectly. They did so by not participating in the argument fully. In the literary context of ...
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What is the connection between Schopenhauer’s “steam valve” and Plato’s “cave”?

Schopenhauer speaks of the media as a “steam valve”, ”freedom of the press is to the machinery of the state what the safety valve is to the steam engine: every discontent is by means of it ...
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Is the Timaeus philosophically relevant?

The reason I ask is that an overwhelming majority of the book is (understandably) baseless scientific claims about the origin of the universe. Not in the same way that, say, he defines the soul, which ...
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Does Philosophy benefit from parsimony?

It is well established doctrine to apply Occam's razor to scientific theoretical development. The basis for which may range over the demonstrated practical success of the principle, to a vocational/...
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Allegory of the cave and Forms?

In my philosophy class, the professor told us about the allegory of the cave and how it relates to the Forms. From what I understood, regular people only see shadows of the Forms; but by doing ...
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Dynamic concept of “truth”

I've recently read a book in which a certain sentence sparked a question in my mind: "the Platonic philosophy is a search for truth, the certain truth. Such truth... is necessarily static" (...
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Concept Formation

I would like some suggestions about Concept Formation. Especially if there is a reference to Plato's Theory of Forms. I believe the two are linked but cannot find appropriate material. Thank you.
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Did Plato not believe in institution of marriage?

From this link, I've found this “all these women shall be wives in common to all the men, and not one of them shall live privately with any man; the children too should be held in common so that no ...
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Is Plato contradicting himself in the Republic?

In Book VII of the Republic, Plato claims that geometry and arithmetic will lead to eternal/pure truth. However, as we know the eternal/pure truth are Forms. Knowing the forms is knowing the pure ...
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Why was music such a fascination for philosophers and mathematicians alike?

Why were ancient philosophers and mathematicians so intrigued by music? Why did philosophers like Plato, Arthur Schopenhaur, Neitsche and etc perceive it differently than other forms of art? P. S it ...
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Does Plato think there is a anti-social/non-pragmatic danger in the study of mathematics?

In the Theaetetus we see Socrates interacting with an up-and-coming mathematician Theaetetus with his mentor Theodorus. It's noteworthy that Plato places his dialogue about the nature of knowledge in ...
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How did Plato believe that our senses aren't to be trusted?

Plato, believed that we can't trust our senses to show us the true form of an object. It didn't make any sense to me, because after all, science hasn't yet proven if you see something after your ...
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Did Plato really use the concept of “God” or only of “gods”? [duplicate]

In medieval philosophy texts, it seems that Plato is presented as having the concept of "eternal light" if not of "God" - I'm taking, very indirectly, from this SEP entry: The problem of universals in ...
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What was Plato's purpose behind Atlantis?

I've heard that Atlantis is simply a story about hubris. But since Plato was interested in political philosophy I would be surprised if there weren't anything along those lines to Atlantis. So my ...
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What does this excerpt from Plato's Republic mean?

This excerpt is from Book II, concerning Plato's reasoning for censoring a certain story of Hesiod's: The doings of Cronus, and the sufferings which in turn his son inflicted upon him, even if they ...
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Did Plato believe in reincarnation?

I have read in some philosophy forums that Plato believed that death was not the end and he most likely believed in reincarnation. Are there any texts that confirm that Plato actually believed in ...
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What's the argument of Socrates in addressing Thrasymachus' argument that the pursuit of self-interest or injustice pays better than that of justice?

While reading The Republic by Plato, I don't quite understand the argument. It seems that the argument did not address why a just man won't be worse off than an unjust man. What's the argument of ...
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Does Plato’s theory of forms entail a kind of essentialism? Discuss [closed]

One of the questions asked in a paper I gave on philosophy, although I understand a bit of essentialism(based on what i read after facing the question in exam). I'd like to know the view of people who ...
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Buddhism in Phaedo

At the end of Phaedo, Socrates proves, in his own manner, that the soul is immortal and goes through an endless cycle of metempsychosis and, "if deemed to have lived an extremely pious life are freed ...
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Which works of Plato and Aristotle (Ancient Greek if there is more worth it) should I read to get a context to study Continental Rationalism?

I'm trying to get a better ground to get into Continental Rationalism between Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, etc. I read on the Plato Encyclopedia of Philosophy that Plato and Aristotle influenced them, ...
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Contradictions with Physical Needs within Plato's Tripartite Theory of the Soul? (Reason Rules?)

Aparently, Plato said reason should rule over emotions and appetites When googling the phrase, something about Plato's Tripartite Theory of the Soul comes up. In Republic [Book IX], Plato ...
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How would the Sophists challenge Socrates' solution to the problem of justification?

Confused about the question. What is it trying to say? Would the sophists argue with Socrates on justification?
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Plato's Meno - the other paradox?

One paradox in the Meno is familiar : A person cannot look for (zitein) what he knows or for what he doesn't know. He would not look for what he knows, for he knows it already and one who has the ...
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Meno's paradox of knowledge - how is knowledge possible?

In Plato's Meno, it is talked about how knowledge is neither gained nor searched for. I am confused on this particular question. What does is entail?
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If vast swathes of philosophy are entirely subjective, why do we care about them?

I'll preface this by saying I'm not an informed philosophy academic, but merely bothered. I've heard that conservative political columnist Ben Shapiro is currently writing a book about how he ...
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The Orphic Socrates

Short introduction Reading about Socrates I found he was more or less Orphic in his beliefs. He believed in the indestructibility of mind or life after dead. Also in certain ascetic life. On the ...
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What would it mean for morality not to be a consequence of rationality?

How would one manage to arrive at this morality, or when to apply it without reason? Some might say we directly experience morality, but this is inconsistent with the different different moral ...
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Did Plato notice that there could be an arbitrary number of nested caves?

I guess everyone knows Plato's allegory of the cave. He assumes people are in caves and then, he suggests that there is a possibility of "going out of the caves", gaining several nice properties with ...
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How to reconcile Plato's Form when dealing with beauty, or at all?

It is said within Plato's dialogues that he believes in a Form of beauty. This I can not reconcile by reason, and I imagine some mental gymnastics are needed, or, more likely, is that I am to dumb to ...
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Contingent vs. Necessary Truth in Classical Philosophy

I am reading "Ancient Philosophy" by Anthony Kenny (Vol 1 of his "A New History of Western Philosophy", OUP, ISBN 0–19–875273–3). I was intrigued by the following statement (p.176): "However, ...
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How would Plato view a just soul?

Does Plato view a just person as someone who three parts of their soul are equal? Or would reason win over appetite and spirit?
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Best translation of the Timaeus

Hello everyone (first question on this site) I'm doing some reading/research on Leibniz's theodicy, and a random article I read has convinced me that Plato's Timaeus would tell me a lot of ...
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Plato, a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristole [closed]

Did Plato believe in a lot of questioning, just like Socrates?
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Did Socrates believe all madness to be good?

In "Phaedro", it seems that Socrates argues that love is a form of divine madness. He then claims that lots of divine things are committed by those who are "not in their right mind ". He also states ...