Intro to Philosophy

Topics: Plato, Philosophy, Socrates Pages: 7 (2345 words) Published: September 12, 2012
Intro to Philosophy Midterm

The word philosophy itself means “the love of wisdom.” Philosophy stands for doing the right thing or being a “just” person. Philosophy also means to see things for what they truly are and not what they may seem to be. A philosopher’s life is a lifelong quest to find the meaning of things beyond their physical appearance.

The Ring of Gyges is a ring that a man puts on and becomes invisible. When he does wrong he is not blamed, he gets away with it. Once a man puts this ring on he can be unjust without punishment. In the second book of The Republic Adimantus argued that the unjust life is happier than the unjust. His argument was that a just man can go without now and enjoy heaven in the afterlife while an unjust man will go without nothing and still enjoy the benefits of the after life.

Through the eyes of a philosopher there are two worlds, the visible world and the intelligible world. In the visible you can see things and judge them from what you actually see. If a person sees a flower one could judge that it is a beautiful flower. However, the person is judging this flowers beauty on its physical appearance and their claim is merely an opinion rather than true knowledge.

In “The Allegory of the Cave” men are chained inside of a cave. All they can see is the shadows that are formed on the wall in front of them. The people inside of the cave believe that the shadows that are being cast on the wall is reality. When one of the men is unchained and brought to the outside world at first he is blinded by the sun and cannot see clearly. The man can only see the shadows of the objects in front of him, this can be perceived as the images of physical objects. When his eyes adjust he can see more than the shadows, he can see the physical objects themselves. When the man goes back inside of the cave to tell the others what he has seen he again cannot see clearly because his eyes have not adjusted. The others in the cave laugh claiming that the sun has ruined his eyes. For a period of time he cannot decipher what the shadows on the wall are imitating. They don’t believe what the man is telling them.

In Plato’s Analogy of the Divided Line the four stages of cognition, which represent the levels of existence, are explained. The first two stages, the good and the sun, represent the visible world. The third and fourth stages, knowledge and opinion, represent the intelligible world. These stages are represented in “The Allegory of the Cave.”

Without the sun’s light we would not be able to see anything at all. The sun allows us to see the flower that we perceived as beautiful. Without the suns light we would not be able to see or perceive any of the physical objects that exist. The sun is perceived as the things that we see. The sun also allows for all living life on earth. Without the sun all life on Earth would diminish. Without the sun we could not perceive anything at all.

1. A person can only understand something once they have reached the highest level of cognitive activity. One must acquire the Form of Good before they can truly understand something. Images and assumptions are not enough support to truly understand the meaning of something. The images the prisoners in the cave saw and the assumptions they made about what they thought they could be are only their opinions. Although they were able to identify the shadows on the wall as what they thought they were it is not enough to truly know what they are, the identities given to the shadows by the prisoners is merely their opinion.

In “Phaedo” Socrates claims that our soul is attached to our body. Our body acts as a vessel only operating because of the soul inside. According to Socrates our body holds us back from perceiving things for what they truly are and therefore a philosopher should desire death because it enables them to continue their quest of reality. 2. Socrates viewed death as a purification...

Cited: Plato, and Benjamin Jowett. The Trial and Death of Socrates: Four Dialogues. New York: Dover Publications, 1992. Print.
Plato, H. D. P. Lee, and M. S. Lane. The Republic. London: Penguin, 2007. Print.
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