A Dialogue With Plato Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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and because the idea of the butterfly is eternal we can have true knowledge about it. Jacob: How do humans fit into this? Plato: Humans have a body, which flows with the rest of the material world, and will eventually die. But humans also have a soul, which is separate from the body. Our souls are immortal, this soul contains our reason; not being physical our souls can survey the world of ideas. But when our body dies the soul being immortal does not. It ascends back to the realm of ideas and learns the perfect ideas of that realm. But before leaving back to a human body it drinks from the river of forgetfulness. But when the soul reaches the body it still has a vague remembrance of the realm of ideas. When it sees the imperfect copies of the world of ideas in the material world

it stirs the soul nostalgically for the realm of ideas. This makes the soul want to return to the realm of ideas, I call this yearning eros. The soul is linked to the human body though. The human body contains three parts: the head, the chest, and the abdomen. For each part of the body there is a faculty of the soul, the head has reason, the chest has will, and the abdomen has appetite. Each soul faculty has a virtue: reason aspires to wisdom, will aspires to courage, and appetite must be curbed so temperance can be exercised. Jacob: How does this relate to the ideal state? Plato: The ideal state I talked about is built on this model. The philosopher kings are the head, they lead the society like the head leads the body, they have reason and aspire to wisdom. The guardians are

the chest they have will and must aspire to courage. The laborers are the abdomens they have appetite that they must learn to control through temperance. The state can only work when all these parts are in balance, just like the soul. Jacob: What is your view on mathematics? Plato: Mathematics is related to my philosophy. Mathematical states, unlike almost any thing else, never change. One plus one always equals two. This illustrates what we were talking about when I mentioned true knowledge. We can have true knowledge about mathematics, because the rate never changes. Jacob: I?ve read your Allegory of the Cave. Can you explain it to me? Plato: I modeled the Allegory of the Cave after my teacher Socrates life, and his death. He like all of us was facing the wall of the cave and

marveling at the shadows of our world. But he thought beyond our reality and freed himself from the chains. He went up to the real world and even though it was painful, uncovered the real world. He learned that his entire world was just shadows on a cave wall. I meant that as an analogy for Socrates going beyond our material world and uncovering the realm of ideas. Then Socrates went back into the shadows of the cave and tried to show his friends the wonders of the real world. Instead of sharing the wonders of the new world Socrates discovered they killed him. Just because they wouldn?t accept that there could be something outside of the mere shadows they saw on the cave wall. They forced Socrates to drink the Hemlock, because he showed them that their entire world was just the

shadows flickering on the cave wall. Jacob: Who was Socrates? Plato: Socrates was my teacher, and the greatest philosopher I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Socrates would wander the agora pretending to be stupid. He would ask people basic questions about their existence. What is democracy? How should you raise your children? How do you know any of this? Socrates tried to help people question the world around them; make them think about there preconceptions of the world around them. When Athenians started to be disturbed by Socrates the Council of Five Hundred grew suspicious. He was charged with the crimes of introducing new gods and corrupting the youth. By a slender margin a jury of five hundred found him guilty and sentenced him to death. He could of left Athens at anytime

and he would have retained his life. But he was such an extraordinary man; he advocated democracy all his life. That was why, when a jury of five hundred declared he should die, even by such a small margin, he the main advocate for democracy couldn?t turn his back on the jury?s decision. He could have pleaded for mercy in front of the council. But Socrates believed he had a mission that he would have betrayed if he had not kept true to it until the end of his life. Jacob: Thank you for your time Plato. What you?ve said (even if I didn?t understand all of it), especially about the Allegory of the Cave makes me think about my preconceptions about my life and about the world. You said that time can dissolve any substances; it is true Plato that after a thousand years even your