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True Knowledge

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By trivedi5296
Words 728
Pages 3
Akarsh Trivedi
Term paper

Plato’s theory of forms, also knows as his theory of ideas, states that there is another world that exists. This world is separate from the world that we live in. Plato calls this world the eternal world. The theory that he proposes is that objects in the physical world merely resemble perfect forms in the ideal world, and that there perfect forms can be the object of true knowledge. Through out his work Plato makes the distinction between objects that are real and concepts that exist in our minds. To better understand this we have to look at the characteristics that Plato bases knowledge on. Throughout this his works, Plato was always concerned with one thing, which was epistemology. Epistemology deals with the possibilities and limits of human knowledge. It tries to answer such questions as: is the world as people perceive it the basic reality, or do people perceive only appearances that conceal basic reality? Knowledge may be regarded as having two parts. There is, first of all, what one perceives using the five senses. Next there is the way these perceptions are organized by the mind to form ideas or concepts. The problem is that epistemology is based on how philosophers have understood the relationship of the mind to the rest of reality. Through the Theory of Forms, Plato links mind and reality. For the average person, common sense says that there is a real world of perceivable objects. These objects can be analyzed and understood. Philosophers have not let the matter rest there. Plato thought that the real world consisted of universal ideas, the world that people actually see is given form by these ideas and is thus less real because it is always changing, but the ideas are eternal and unchangeable. Plato says that knowledge must be certain and unquestionable, it must be infallible. The theory states that the forms are unchanging and are perfect and that the forms cannot be part of everyday life, because it is always changing and imperfect. So because of their stability and perfection, the forms have greater reality than ordinary objects observed in the physical world. The forms meet Plato’s criteria of knowledge, they are certain, unquestionable and are infallible. Thus, true knowledge is the knowledge of forms. Plato states that the physical world is always changing and imperfect because he believed that there is a difference between that which we perceive with our senses and that which we understand innately with our minds, these objects of sense experience are mere shadows of the perfect forms, he rejects empiricism; the claim that knowledge is derived from sense experience. Forms exist neither in space nor time, they can be known only by the intellect, not by the senses, the forms have greater reality than ordinary objects observed by the senses. According to Plato true knowledge means abandoning the senses and understanding. Opponents of Plato, such as materialists, have claimed that the ideas were nothing more than names people have attached to the objects they perceive. Names of individual objects and of classes of objects are merely ways of organizing perceptions into knowledge. People see one animal they decide to call "dog." All similar animals are called "dogs," and a whole category of animals is thereby named without any reference to eternal ideas or forms. Materialists insist that all activities of mind and emotion are based on physical properties. One example of accounting for this is that thought is only the function of a material brain and caused by electrical connections within the brain tissue. Materialism states that all matter is made of atoms, which are limitless in number, and the different appearance of objects are a result of the difference in size and shape of atoms and by the different ways these atoms combine. When the conclusions of nuclear physicists are taken into account, especially their studies on atomic particles, the problem of the reality of the material world and how much can be known about it is confronted with new challenges. True knowledge means abandoning the senses and understanding this “World of forms”. To contemplate what we see and realize that it is not real, to try and see the world beyond the imperial information we receive. To seek reason and understanding and to grasp real knowledge and the “Form of the good”

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