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Philosophy: Descartes versus Plato | Hire Homework Writers Online

Philosophy has become one of the most important disciplines in modern science and learning. There is quite a large number of philosophers that provide various theories to subjects that are ongoing. Among ongoing subjects is understanding the nature of the mind or understanding human knowledge. Another issue is the existence of material things. These matters have become controversial issues among scientists and philosophers have discussed then in detail. Philosophers such as Plato and Descartes provided a discussion of their own analysis of the issues. In this paper, these issues are discussed as viewed in the eyes of Plato and Descartes, pinpointing the differences and similarities in the theories proposed by the philosophers.

Descartes v. Plato

On the notion of human knowledge or the nature of the mind, the two philosophers believe that a human being is born with the innate knowledge of the world or the surroundings (Russell, 2009). They both explain that human beings are born with a clean slate and begin gaining knowledge through life’s experiences. This notion is referred to as empiricism and is used by Descartes to explain human reasoning. However, while Descartes suggests that inborn ideas possessed by a human being are geometric truths and that knowledge can be accessed through reasoning, Plato suggests that a human’s soul is eternal and usually exists in a world of different forms before life (Russell, 2009). Plato suggests that a learning process is an act of remembering various shadows of the forms before life. Descartes and Plato also state that human beings have knowledge of the physical world. Human beings learn and acquire knowledge through their senses: “I now see a light, I hear a noise, I feel heat…I certainly do seem to see, hear, and feel warmth” (Descartes, 2013).

While Plato and Descartes seem to propose similar theories, there are various differences in their theories. Whereas Descartes states that our senses are misleading and that knowledge can only be acquired through reasoning, Plato uses senses together with reasoning to explain and judge the world. Plato looks at words and things and assumes that they are mostly real, while Descartes separates thinking from reality by stressing that reality is not common to sense reality: “For example, I now see a light, I hear a noise, I feel heat. These things are false, since I am asleep. Yet I certainly do seem to see, hear, and feel warmth. This cannot be false. Properly speaking, this is what in me is called “sensing.” But this, precisely so taken, is nothing other than thinking” (Descartes, 2013). Another key difference in the theories is on the issue of objects or material things. Plato suggests that what we see are shadows rather than real objects. Descartes suggests that we possess objects through reason: “…still it was surely not without reason that I thought I sensed things that were manifestly different from my thought” (Descartes, 2013).

References

Descartes, R. (2013). René Descartes: Meditations on first philosophy: With selections from the objections and replies. Cambridge University Press.

Russell, B. (2009). Human knowledge: Its scope and limits. Routledge.

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Philosophy: Descartes versus Plato | Hire Homework Writers Online . (2022, September 01). Essay Writing . Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.essay-writing.com/samples/philosophy-descartes-versus-plato/
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Philosophy: Descartes versus Plato | Hire Homework Writers Online . [online]. Available at: <https://www.essay-writing.com/samples/philosophy-descartes-versus-plato/> [Accessed 27 Sep. 2022].
Philosophy: Descartes versus Plato | Hire Homework Writers Online [Internet]. Essay Writing . 2022 Sep 01 [cited 2022 Sep 27]. Available from: https://www.essay-writing.com/samples/philosophy-descartes-versus-plato/
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