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

Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul.

Extracts from this document...


Bianca Revens 12H Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul Plato, the Greek philosopher was born in 427 BC in Athens. He was born to an aristocratic family. He eventually became a disciple of Socrates, accepting his basic philosophy and dialectical style of debate. Apart from being monumental throughout the history of philosophy, Plato is known for his exploration of the fundamental problems of natural science, political theory, metaphysics, theology and theory of knowledge. The basis of Plato's philosophy is his theory of ideas, or doctrine of forms. Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira, northern Greece. He was brought up by his uncle due to the early deaths of his parents. In 367 BC Aristotle, at the age of seventeen, became a student at Plato's Academy in Athens. After being a student, Aristotle soon became a teacher at the Academy and he was to remain there for twenty years. Aristotle's ideas differed to those of Platos', and he severely criticised Plato's Theory of Forms. In this essay I will discuss Plato's and Aristotle's views and ideas of the forms, body, knowledge and soul. I will show and discuss how they differ and then evaluate whose ideas I think are more appropriate and if Aristotle's criticisms to Plato are valid. ...read more.


It is through the body that we receive our sense experiences, so that our minds are able to form our opinions and reasons. Our minds are also able to achieve and awareness of the eternal truths beyond the physical world, in the realm of ideas, or forms. All our senses are based in the body and are consequently unreliable. The soul is the realm of reason. And not being physical, the soul can survey the world of ideas. Plato also believed that the soul existed before it inhabited the body. As soon as the soul wakes up in a human body, it has forgotten all the perfect ideas. Then a process begins. As the human being discovers the various forms in the natural world, a vague recollection stirs his soul. Plato calls this yearning eros- meaning love. The soul, then, experiences a 'longing to return to its true origin'. From now on, the body and the whole sensory world is experienced as imperfect and insignificant. The soul yearns to fly home on the wings of love to the world if ideas. It longs to be freed from the chains of the body. Plato also believed that the mind and body are in opposition. The mind wants to understand ideas, to gain real knowledge of the forms; but the body is interested in sense pleasures, and it has its needs such as eating and sleeping which are constantly getting in the way of intellectual pursuits, because they keep interrupting. ...read more.


For Aristotle, knowledge is perception, therefore, if we did not perceive anything, we would not learn or understand anything, and whenever we think of anything, we must at the same time think of an idea. He believed that the natural world is the real world and that perception and sense-experience are the foundations of scientific knowledge. For Plato the reality of the world is in the forms as understood by intellect. For Aristotle, the reality of the world is in 'matter', the stuff the world is made of. Aristotle decided that all substances have two parts: material and structure- or 'matter' and 'form'. Matter and form belong to this world, not to a world bey9ond this world, like Plato's forms. Plato started with the intellect; Aristotle started with perceptions of the natural world. Plato's understanding was mathematical- dealing in concepts which can be worked out without relation to the natural world; Aristotle's understanding was scientific, based on perception, observation and investigation. Although both Plato and Aristotle are considered among the greatest philosophers, they had significant differences between their philosophies. Plato was more "other worldly" while Aristotle focused on concrete things in the world. Whilst Aristotle was intrigued by the concrete world, Plato wanted nothing to do with it. Plato believed that people know forms all along, whi8le Aristotle thought that people had the ability to abstract them from the objects themselves. Although they are quite different, it is still very interesting to read about them both. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess Empiricism. In this essay I intend to seek the values of Empiricism ...

    4 star(s)

    David Hume strengthened this Empiricist view by distinguishing between simple and complex concepts - or what he called 'ideas'. Simple ideas consist of a single element, such as the idea of red while complex ideas involve multiple simple ideas, such as a gold medal.

  2. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of ...

    of superiority in the social and intellectual hierarchy over those who are confined by political and social tyranny. In several aphorisms, he emphasizes a higher type of man, one who believes and demands an order of rank and disdains democracy and equality.

  1. Explain Plato's Theory of Forms

    Plato appears to hold that the Form of Good keeps in existence the whole world of Forms, and appearances too, just as the sun gives light and casts shadow. We cannot all agree about what is true goodness is and how it should be shown to other people.

  2. Plato's Theory of Forms

    Plato appears to hold that the Form of the Good keeps in existence the whole world of forms and appearances too, just as the sun gives light and casts shadows, but we will all point at the same sun if were asked, whereas we cannot agree about what true Goodness is and how it should be shown to other people.

  1. Comparison of Plato and Aristotle's views of how knowledge is obtained and the body ...

    table is: that it has 4 legs (usually), a flat horizontal surface etc... He believed that the cause of something can be traced back, showing several reasons of why it exists and he concluded that the explanation of things could be seen in four different ways.

  2. Evaluate plato and aristotle on well being

    things are not in the right balance then it becomes a matter of damaging your mental health. Plato believes that justice is gratifying in itself not merely because of its consequences. The purpose of human life is to live virtuously.

  1. Explain the fundamental ideas of resurrection and immortality of the soul. (18)

    In stage one he gives the example of a man called John Smith disappearing in America and simultaneously appearing in India, he has the same DNA and believes that he is the same John Smith, after tests even his friends accept that this is John Smith.

  2. Evaluate Aristotles view that the soul is mortal and inseparable from the body, making ...

    As the soul is nothing but the simple form of the body, as seeing is the form of the eye. The swinging of an axe cannot happen without the wood and metal that are the body of the axe, as can?t the soul live on without the body, when the body dies as does the soul.

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