• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Plato does not value experience enough" Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Plato does not value experience enough," Discuss. (10) Central to Plato's "Theory of Forms" is the belief that the world we see around us, and observe with our senses, is not the true world. He theorised that the abstract world of the Forms, and not the material and physical world we live in, is the highest form of reality. He felt that true knowledge could only be attained through reasoning, and never through experience. This would suggest that Plato did not value any experience of the physical world, as he believed that the senses were easily tricked, and so, as shown in his Allegory of the Cave, we could be fooled into thinking that the "Cave" of the physical world, is the ultimate reality. Experience is defined as, "the observing, encountering, or undergoing of things, generally as they occur in the course of time." This explains why Plato would dismiss experience as either useless or not to be trusted. He did not believe that, as humans, anything we "observe" through use of our senses, could be taken as definite fact, as demonstrated through his allegory. Many people however, would argue that with this viewpoint, saying Plato does not value experience enough. They could say that Plato's "Theory of the Forms" limits knowledge to those who can see the forms clearly, and, in essence, makes life meaningless and empty for those who cannot, through constraints of time, money, or intelligence, learn about them. ...read more.

Middle

One common argument to suggest that Plato should place more value in experience is that, as there is no way to prove the existence of the Forms, we should place more worth in the physical world around us, as we know for sure that at the very least, we have the illusion of a material world, and the illusion of experience. We should therefore, value what we can see around us, more than something which can never be proven to exist. People who accept this argument would definitely agree with the statement that "Plato does not value experience enough." Following on from the argument that Plato himself was affected by his experience of the death of his mentor, some may say that even his philosophies were greatly impacted by what he saw around him, by studying our world he concluded that there must be more to "reality" than what he saw. Without his experiences, he would not have been able to formulate his ideas, and therefore, it seems absurd for him to suggest that knowledge can only be attained through reasoning, and never through the senses, or via a combination of the two. I feel this argument definitely supports the idea that "Plato does not value experience enough." It could however be argued that Plato is right to place no value upon our sensory experiences, as it is not uncommon in the medical world ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, even if a sense is tricked, we can always rely on the others to confirm that what it is telling us is false, and so, that our senses as a collective, will always tell us the truth about what we are seeing around us. An empiricist would always agree that Plato does not place enough value on sensory experiences. Further to this argument, Empiricists may state that, through human history, senses have been wrong far less times than reasoning has. For example, without the sensory experience to back up their logic, people used to believe that the world was flat or dome-shaped. This "logic" actually conflicted with the evidence collected by people almost 3000 years previously, using astronomy, and their knowledge, (again through sensory evidence,) that the moon is spherical. An Empiricist would argue that although the senses can be tricked occasionally, they are never tricked as a collective, and they are far more reliable than reason ever could be when unsupported by evidence. They would therefore strongly agree with the statement that Plato does not place enough value on experience. In conclusion, I would agree that Plato does not place enough value on experience, as without it, logic would either be impossible, or meaningless. I also feel that an analysis of Plato's life is enough to prove the importance of experience. He was due to undertake in a life of politics before the death of his mentor, Socrates, but this sensory experience led him to his "discovery" of the Forms. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Religious language is meaningless, Discuss

    It is because of this belief we can talk of human qualities. In some way those qualities can be applied back to God. We can talk up to God using the same language. The only problem about the two analogies is they only work if you have previous knowledge of God.

  2. "Religious Language is meaningless." Discuss.

    This means that they are therefore meaningful. The parable that he wrote described "a resistance fighter who met a stranger in an occupied country during a war. The stranger tells the soldier tells the fighter that he should trust him, even though at times it may seem as though he is helping the enemy.

  1. Examine and Comment on a philosophical analysis of religious experience

    Clearly to those who feel they have experienced such an event mysticism offers evidence that there is something beyond the material, and a sense of the divine. However, while it may be a genuine mental state, the origins of this state are extremely disputable.

  2. "Religious experience must be true because there is a common core to them all" ...

    Arguably if religious experiences are to be taken as valid they should all share these qualities to some extent. Mysticism within religious experience provides many examples. The mystical and deep prayer experienced by people such as St Teresa of Avila and St John of the cross seem to share some similarities.

  1. Introduction to Philosophy.

    These go beyond the tangible world. Socrates here says that Eros ( the god of love( was not a real god because he was made from abundance & poverty. Socrates concluded that if one of Eros's parents was poor he could not be a god, as gods lacked nothing.

  2. Discuss the usefulness of studying philiosophy.

    From the lessons on enculturation and ethical dilemmas, I have learned how much our surroundings affect our beliefs, values and the way we think, and the resultant decisions we make when it comes to a situation where there are no clear-cut answers and where both choices seem to be wrong.

  1. Philosophy: Life After Death Analysis

    Important to the proof of the soul was Plato's idea of "reminiscence", which is the way we can differentiate between a table and a man. As ideas are from our prior, pure existence they are more real. And as they are not physical things, they belong to the spirit realm

  2. Ethical language is meaningless. Discuss.

    For example, the statement ?Euthanasia is right,? you could argue that it ends the suffering of the individual and therefore it is right. According to ethical naturalism, religious language is meaningful because are ethical statements can be proved to be true or false.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work