Philosophy: The Power of Ideas

  • Explain (the main ideas and views) and evaluate (by giving arguments) the view of Heraclitus regarding the nature of reality?
    • Heraclitus believed that the surrounding reality reflects the ongoing process of things being continually transformed. In its turn, this implied that the seeming spatial stability of this reality’s emanations is nothing but an illusion. In light of the recent discoveries in the fields of biology and physics, such Heraclitus’ point of view does appear largely legitimate, as it is being fully consistent with the main laws of thermodynamics and with what contemporary biologists know about the foremost principles of the organic matter’s organization.
  • Explain and evaluate the view of Empedocles?
    • Empedocles is used to promoting the idea that, even though our perceptions of a particular object’s characteristic do vary in terms of quality, the elementary blocks of matter, out of which this object is made, remain the same. This idea effectively addressed the apparent incompatibility between the static and dynamic conceptualizations of the universe. As such, the philosophy of Empedocles, based upon the earlier mentioned idea, can be described as scientifically sound to an extent.
  • Explain and evaluate the view of Anaximander?
    • The philosophy of Anaximander revolved around his assumption that the building blocks of the universe are much too small, which in turn makes it rather impossible for people to be able to gain an insight into their true nature. We can say that this particular assumption, on the part of Anaximander, correlates with the main postulate of quantum mechanics, as to the fact that the spatial evolutions of atoms are strongly non-intuitive.
  • Explain, evaluate, and compare (by stating how they are similar or different) the views of Parmenides and Heraclitus.
    • The views of Heraclitus and Parmenides are irreconcilably different. Whereas Heraclitus believed that there is nothing truly static in the universe, Parmenides never ceased promoting the idea that what we perceive as a change, is in fact reflects the unchangeable essence of some ‘higher reality’, the existence of which one can well deduce. In this respect, the views of Heraclitus appear to be much more scientifically valid. The legitimacy of this statement can be illustrated, in regards to the current decline of metaphysics.
  • Explain and evaluate the views of Protagoras.
    • Protagoras is known for his idea that there can be no universally accepted philosophical points of view, by definition. The reason for this is that the manner, in which people perceive the surrounding reality and their place in it, is highly subjective. I find the above-mentioned idea thoroughly valid, in the scientific sense of this word.
  • Explain and evaluate the views of Pythagoras.
    • According to Pythagoras, the experientially assessed things reflect the qualitative relationships between numbers. This specific idea correlates perfectly well with the fact that even the universe’s most complex workings can be described mathematically, which in turn allows today’s physicists to have a good idea of how the universe came into being, in the first place.
  • Explain and evaluate the views of Anaxagoras.
    • Anaxagoras is used to advocating the idea that, even though the surrounding reality does consist of utterly small integral components, there can be no limit to reducing them down to ever-smaller particles. The currently conducted experiments in the Large Hadron Collider, partially substantiate the validity of Anaxagoras’s point of view, in this respect.
  • Explain, in your opinion, which, if any, of the early Greeks had a reasonable conception of the nature of reality.
    • As can be seen above, the views of the majority of the mentioned Greek philosophers are thoroughly consistent with what today’s scientists know about the universe’s actual functioning. Nevertheless, it is specifically the philosophies of Heraclites and Protagoras, that appear to provide the most reasonable conception of the nature of reality. The reason for this is that they fit rather well within the methodological framework of the Theory of Relativity.
  • Explain and evaluate Plato’s theory of the soul and its connection to the state.
    • Plato believed in the immortality of one’s soul while promoting the idea that there are three integral parts to it: rationale, willpower, and irrational desire, which continually compete with each other while striving to take over the concerned person’s psyche. In this respect, a soul is similar to a state, which can assume a number of different postures, when in the process of addressing challenges. Nowadays, however, the Platonic notion of the soul appears outdated.
  • Explain and evaluate how Plato claims people can know the Forms.
    • According to Plato, even though people do not perceive the actual Forms directly, they nevertheless can have a certain knowledge of them. The reason for this is that the manifestations of the surrounding reality do partially reflect the affiliated Forms’ true nature. I personally do not consider this idea plausible, because the very assumption that there are some metaphysical entities, which exist independently of our ability to perceive them, is purely speculative.
  • Explain and evaluate Aristotle’s notion of the 4 causes.
    • Aristotle used to promote the idea that, in order for people to be able to gain an in-depth insight into the essence of a particular object, they need to be aware of the four main causes, which have brought this object into being. These causes can be generally defined as a) Material (concerned with the actual substance, out of which the object is made), Efficient (concerned with the force behind the object’s formation), Formal (concerned with how the object in question can be categorized) and Final (concerned with the object’s purpose). I consider this Aristotelian idea much too conceptually rigid.
  • Explain and evaluate Aristotle’s 10 categories.
    • According to Aristotle, in order for us to be able to grasp the true significance of a particular phenomenon, we need to categorize it in terms of: “Substance, quantity, quality, relationships, place, time, posture, constitution, passivity, and activity” (Brooke & Bruder, 2010, p. 67). The above-quoted is the so-called 10 Aristotelian categories. I think that, even though these categories do make much of a logical sense, there is nevertheless the element of speculation to the categories of passivity and posture.
  • Explain and evaluate Aristotle’s third man argument and theory of forms.
    • While criticizing the Platonic theory of forms, Aristotle came up with the so-called ‘third man argument’. The argument’s foremost idea is that the assumption that the physical reality reflects the workings of the metaphysical one, presupposes the existence of some super-metaphysical reality, and so on and on – the concerned logical sequence can be extended into infinity. This shows the fallaciousness of Plato’s gnoseological insights. I think that this Aristotelian argument is rather brilliant, as it exposes the conceptual inconsistency of the assumption that the physical reality is nothing but a shadow of some ‘higher’ one.
  • Compare and Contrast Plato’s view of Forms with Aristotle’s view of forms.
    • According to Plato, Forms exist independently of the experientially assessed objects in question. Aristotle, on the other hand, promoted the idea that, even though physical things can be defined in terms of a particular form, they in fact define this form as much, as the concerned form defines them. This Aristotelian idea presupposes that, contrary to how Plato used to think of them, there could be no rationale in referring to Forms as ‘things in themselves’.
  • Aristotle says “Everything which comes into being is brought about by something [else]” if that were the case, would existence not be a paradox as Gorgias points out? Explain.
    • Aristotle was a firm believer in the purposefulness of the universe’s workings, which is why he used to criticize the sophisticated explanations of how the world turns around. After all, if the surrounding reality is the boundless sequence of causes and effects (as Gorgas used to point out), there would be no spatial limitations to this reality’s observable extrapolations – yet, this is far from being the actual case.

Reference

Brooke, N. & Bruder, K. (2010). Philosophy: The power of ideas. New York, The McGraw-Hill.

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