New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Introduction to Philosophy, Week 5: Greek Epistemology

by: Andres Calvo

Introduction to Philosophy, Week 5: Greek Epistemology Phi 2010

Marketplace > Florida International University > Phi 2010 > Introduction to Philosophy Week 5 Greek Epistemology
Andres Calvo

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

PHI 2010 9/19/16-9/23/16 This week's notes cover the metaphysics and epistemology of Plato and Aristotle.
Intro Into Philosophy
Kenton Harris
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Intro Into Philosophy

Popular in Department

This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andres Calvo on Thursday September 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phi 2010 at Florida International University taught by Kenton Harris in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.


Reviews for Introduction to Philosophy, Week 5: Greek Epistemology


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 09/29/16
Plato’s Metaphysics ● While metaphysics deals with understanding the nature of reality, epistemology deals with the nature of knowledge itself. The two are strongly connected because we must understand our knowledge of reality in order to understand reality. ● Plato was an apprentice of Socrates, who was executed for searching for truth and wisdom and exposing the frauds who silenced this thought. His execution inspires Plato to pursue philosophy almost religiously in the search for truth and the battle against ignorance. ○ Plato worried that the masses could be too easily swayed by strong rhetoric and persuasive orators, so his mission was to teach philosophy to followers in order to encourage independent thinking and questioning. He opened the Academy and was both a writer and a teacher. ○ He taught using Socrates’ technique of public discussion, and Plato’s discussions often involved Socrates as the main character. However, while his early plays were likely based on Socrates’ actual words, his later plays and discussions were more of Plato’s thinking. ● Plato tries to combining two conflicting views about the nature of reality: those of Heraclitus and Parmenides. ○ Heraclitus: the nature of reality constantly changes. The world we experience is always changing, including people themselves. (“No man can ever step in the same river twice.”) ○ Parmenides: our senses deceive us by convincing us that change is always happening, but reality logically is set and eternal. ● Plato borrows Pythagoras’ idea​ that people have a ​ priori knowledge of the unchanging world. ● He posits that the world cannot be explained by just one substance or thing (like Thales). He puts forth metaphysical dualism: the existence of the immaterial and material realms. ○ The Realm of Being (immaterial): a timeless level of reality that exists to make sense of the physical world we interact with. This realm is comprised of “Forms,” which are concepts that are completely independent of the mind. ■ Understanding the essence of one of our concepts leads to our understanding of its nature. For example, understanding the essence of justice would show us the meaning and the nature of justice and what justice is. ■ Something that has a necessary feature or set of characteristics means that all of those things are united by a common form. For example, when considering several squares -- small ones, large ones, different colored ones -- it is still true that they are all still squares and have four sides. Having four sides is a necessary feature that unites all squares under one Form. Furthermore, while a representation of a square in the physical world can change and go​out of existence, the essence of what a square i​ s remains constant. ● Metaphysical claim: the form of a square is not physical or material. ● Epistemological claim: our ability or inability to grasp the nature of the form is not physical. ■ **Nominalism: aspects of reality that are subject to human thought and were created by the mind rather than discovered.** ■ Forms are not learned through experience. We have ​a priori knowledge because while we perceive something we have never seen before, we have seen other forms of the thing before, so we recognize this new thing without seeing that particular instance of it. If we observe a blue-eyed dog that we have never seen before, we still know it is a dog because we have seen other dogs with different eye colors. ● Somehow, Plato says, we must have had contact with the Forms in the Realm of Being before we were born because otherwise, we would not recognize the truth when we experience it in the physical realm. ​ ■ The only way there could ​be a thing is because of the existence of the form of that thing. ○ The Realm of Becoming (material): the physical, observable, changing level of reality. ■ Since the Realm of Becoming is contingent upon the Forms in the Realm of Being, the Realm of Becoming is somewhat flawed. ​ ■ Plato explains this in the ​Allegory of the Cave, which is the story of prisoners chained inside of a cave who observe the shadows of people working behind them. ● The shadows are an illusion of reality. ● When the prisoner is released and turns to the light, he is reluctant to go to it because he can only make sense of the shadows. ● Indeed, it will be hard for the prisoner to ascend out of the cave because the new world of reality will be disorienting to him. ● Once he is out of the cave, he will observe the world as it really is rather than what it seems to be. The prisoner will see the real sun rather than the reflection of the sun in the water. ● He will then return to the cave and bring the rest of the prisoners into the light. ● Plato refers to Socrates by mentioning that the prisoners will think the enlightened one is wrong and will want to put him to death. ○ The Realm of Becoming could not be without the existence of the Realm of Being, because abstract concepts (Forms) are what make the existence of the physical manifestation even possible. Subsequently, erasing all instances of the particular being in the physical world would not erase the existence of its Form in the abstract world. ○ Plato’s Theory of Forms, if true, shows that there is a level of existence outside of space and time. It would be nonsense to ask if the Realm of Being has a physical location because it does not have a spatial location since it is not perceivable. Though the Realm of Being is the basis of the Realm of Becoming, it is important to remember that it is still separate from it. Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Epistemology ● Aristotle was a student of Plato who pursue physics and biology who argued that physical observation was the best key to knowledge, making him an empiricist. ○ He tutored Alexander the Great, which brought him political trouble after Alexander died because Alexander was an outsider to them. ● Aristotle’s empiricist view is different than Plato’s rationalist view: ○ While rationalists claim there are innate ideas (forms), empiricists do not. ○ While rationalists claim the senses (physical realm) are an unreliable way to gain knowledge, empiricists say that actually, our observation of the physical world through our senses is the only way to find knowledge. ​ ○ While rationalists say that a only way to find knowledge, rationalists argue that pure introspection is not enough, and that observation and experience is as important. ● Points of agreement between Plato and Aristotle: ○ Knowledge is timeless and universal. ○ Eternal knowledge of some things is possible because some realities are not changing, such as God. ○ Evolution was not true. ○ There is a distinguished hierarchy with different levels of reality; some things are more real than others.. ■ The difference is that while Plato thought the Realm of Being was the highest degree of reality, along with Forms, Aristotle thought the most real reality was the concrete. ○ Forms are real and eternal. ■ Unlike Plato, Aristotle believes that concrete objects cannot exist without forms, and forms cannot exist without concrete objects. ● Points of disagreement between Plato and Aristotle: ○ There is no relationship between Forms and Things because they can only exist together. Plato thought the Form was independent of the Thing, but the Form was necessary for the Thing to exist. ● According to Aristotle, while philosophical inquiry and its conclusion will lead to the correct, true definition of a concept, it is not enough because observation is necessary. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Kyle Maynard Purdue

"When you're taking detailed notes and trying to help everyone else out in the class, it really helps you learn and understand the I made $280 on my first study guide!"

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."

Parker Thompson 500 Startups

"It's a great way for students to improve their educational experience and it seemed like a product that everybody wants, so all the people participating are winning."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.