Comparative Philosophies Essay

16.04.2020 in Comparative Essays
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Plato, Socrates and Aristotle 

The era of ancient times left a huge mark on the history of the world. First of all, this period is known for the first discoveries in the spheres of science and art. Basically, all the knowledge, including pedagogical, emerged from the philosophy. People of ancient Greece and Rome paid great attention to the education and training of children, since children formed the future of the state, its power and influence. The main educators of ancient times were the following philosophers: Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato. Despite particular differences, their teachings have a lot of common ideas that laid foundations for the development of contemporary thinking, political and behavior practices. 

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Aristotle’s ideas about knowledge are significantly intertwined with his logical and dialectical doctrines, and complemented them. In the field of knowledge, Aristotle  not only recognized the importance of dialogue, dispute, debate in reaching the truth, but he also put forward new principles and ideas of knowledge and, in particular, the doctrine of knowledge and plausible probability or dialectic. True knowledge, according to Aristotle, cannot be achieved by means of sensory perception or by experience, but thanks to the activities of mind, which has the necessary skills to achieve the truth. Aristotle considered kingship to be “a fairly self explanatory regime” (“Plato and Aristotle’s Regimes: Republic and Politics”). It is “the most desired regime, but due to its ability to quickly turn into tyranny, it is not the best possible regime” (“Plato and Aristotle’s Regimes: Republic and Politics”). According to Aristotle, a state arises in a natural way to meet the necessities of life, and the purpose of its existence is the achievement of human welfare. 

Analyzing the problems of human existence, Socrates focuses on the questions of ethics. The knowledge of oneself is a search of the true knowledge and principles on how to live better, i.e. a search for knowledge and virtue (“Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle”). Socrates made an essential contribution to the development of the dialectic. The dialectic of Socrates is the doctrine of overcoming contradictions, negation of contradictions, and avoiding conflicts. 

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The basis of Plato’s doctrine of being is made of three substances: a single, mind and soul. The first cause of all things is the mind. The state, according to Plato, arises from the natural needs of people to unite in order to facilitate the conditions of their existence. Plato “ends his account of the regimes with Tyranny, the most dreaded and depraved form of government developed by mankind” (“Plato and Aristotle’s Regimes: Republic and Politics”). In the question of the form of government in the state, Socrates, Plato’s teacher, distinguishes between a kingdom and tyranny, aristocracy and oligarchy, correct and wrong democracy. The first form of government in each pair is right, and the second is wrong. Socrates does not believe in the effectiveness of democracy and activities of a national assembly as the highest governing body of the state.

The ethical teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have much in common. The most important thing is that these thinkers responds to the same question – what kind of life is considered correct, and how to implement it. The ethics of Socrates is similar to Plato’s opinions. It seems that Plato and Socrates’ position cannot be divided, as Socrates did not leave any writings and Plato did not put forward positions on his behalf. Plato’s works are written in the form of conversations between Socrates and other Greek philosophers. At the same time, he always shares the position of Socrates. Socrates and Plato believe that the human sense of a happy life consists in a virtuous, moral life. Socrates and Plato gave rise to eudemonism in considering morality, according to which happiness was the ultimate goal of human life. Socrates and Plato made an importance contribution to the development of human capacity for self-knowledge. 

Aristotle does not accept the interpretation of happiness as a goal that can be achieved through right living. For Aristotle, happiness is a path leading to the goal. The point of departure of Plato and Aristotle is the same, but the question about the relationship of ideas to the phenomena is solved completely differently. Describing the views of Aristotle, it must be said that at first, he was strongly influenced by the teachings of Plato, but eventually released from it. He puts it under critical analysis and creates his own philosophical doctrine. Plato was the creator of idealism, while Aristotle became the founder of realism. In contrast to Plato, considered ideas as all being, Aristotle treats relation of general and individual, real and logical in being from other positions (“Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle”). He does not oppose to and does not share them, as Plato does, but he combines both of them. The essence is in the thing itself, and not outside of it, and they are integrated. 

If Socrates and Plato argues that there is one correct model of life for all, Aristotle does not accept this idea. In his ethical teachings, he substantiates the idea that the same ways of life are acceptable to some people and are not acceptable to others. However, he did not deny the moral virtues. Thus, eudemonism of Aristotle’s ethics is a realistic doctrine of the golden mean. Just as Socrates and Plato’s ethics, it is a rationalist. However, rationalists ethics of Aristotle has distinctive features in comparison with the rationalism of his predecessors. He argues that the knowledge of good does not always lead to virtuous deeds. 

The teachings of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates made a basis for further development of Western philosophy. Their teachings literally carried out a revolution in philosophy, drawing attention to the fact that a person needed to know the inner world and improve himself. Aristotle, Plato and Socrates are considered to be the first teachers in the history, who not only raised and educated the younger generation, but also analyzed the process, tried to make it more productive. Modern science is obliged to ancient philosophers as their perspectives often diverged, creating contradictions and disputes. These contradictions were the beginning of progress. Various discussions, oratorical speeches forced them to rethink their concepts, complement them. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are fathers of all the sciences, including pedagogy. They were not only philosophers in the true sense of the word, but also profound political thinkers. Their thoughts about a political system have not lost relevance in the present time. In particular, Plato’s doctrine of a state is the project of the ideal socio-political system. 

The ancient philosophy made a great contribution to the development of political and ethnical systems. In particular, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle discovered the inner world of humans, discussed the ultimate goal of life, created a system of values, and build a project of ideal statehood. Their thoughts had much in common. Moreover, they interacted and confronted each other. Their disputes contributed to the development of their thoughts and the philosophy as a whole.

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