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Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge

Introduction

The concept of knowledge has been debated since the conception of philosophy as a method of examining the nature of phenomena and relationships between them. Plato and Aristotle can be regarded as the initiators of the discussion surrounding the definition of knowledge. Although there are several points at which the perspectives of Plato and Aristotle intersect, their interpretations of the subject matter tend to collide quite drastically. Particularly, the speculations concerning the varieties of knowledge are what drives a strong divide between Plato and Aristotle’s interpretation of knowledge.

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Main body

The division between the knowledge typology is one of the foundational differences between Plato and Aristotle’s perspective on the subject matter. Namely, Aristotle insists on the need to distinguish the concept of ethical knowledge as a separate entity (Bronstein 4). In addition, according to Aristotle, there is the presence of practical-ethical truth, which justifies the need to isolate the concept of ethical knowledge as a separate one (Bronstein 7). In turn, Plato suggests that the phenomenon of knowledge should incorporate the varieties such as imagining, believing, thinking, and, ultimately, reaching perfect intelligence (Rowett 5). The specified stance allows differentiating between Plato and Aristotle’s stance on knowledge and its varieties.

Another important point of difference between the ways in which the two philosophers interpret knowledge is what the philosophers define as its source. While Plato argues that reasoning produces knowledge, Aristotle insists that knowledge is derived primarily from one’s senses and the related experiences of one’s environment. The described stance allows posing a question of whether knowledge occurs as one receives an informational input, or whether it is produced as a result of analyzing the specified input accordingly. According to Aristotle, the focus on reasoning as opposed to one’s perception of the environment may lead to the development of relativism in the description of the objective reality and, therefore, the relativism of produced knowledge (Bronstein 8). Nevertheless, Plato’s stance on the nature of knowledge is also viable since it focuses on defining it as a product of one’s cognitive effort, thus amounting to the sum of one’s experiences.

Consequently, the juxtaposition of empiricism versus rationalism is another way of differentiating between Aristotle and Plato’s definition of knowledge. Whereas Aristotle focuses on defining the subject matter through empirical experiences, Plato tends to promote the idea of rationalism. The specified distinction is quite understandable given the nature of the philosophical theories developed by Plato and Aristotle. Specifically, given Plato’s idea of the rationalism emerges from his idea of the need to view knowledge as a cognitive process of evaluating and analyzing data (Rowett 18). In turn, Aristotle’s perception of empiricism as the basis for decision-making stems from his idea of using information received by relying on one’s senses. The specified difference also shows that there is a clear distinction between the interpretation of knowledge from Plato and Aristotle’s perspective.

Conclusion

Due to the difference in the philosophical premises of Plato and Aristotle’s philosophies, their interpretations of knowledge are strikingly different. Namely, Plato’s’ definition of knowledge relies primarily on the necessity to introduce rationalism into its core, whereas Aristotle defines knowledge as the direct outcome of empirical facts. As a result, despite having multiple common argumentative points, the two philosophies bear distinctive characteristics that allow them to stand on their own and introduce unique premises for the analysis of reality and understanding people’s place in the universe.

Works Cited

Bronstein, David. Aristotle on Knowledge and Learning: The Posterior Analytics. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Rowett, Catherine. Knowledge and Truth in Plato: Stepping Past the Shadow of Socrates. Oxford University Press, 2018.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 31). Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/plato-and-aristotle-views-on-the-concept-of-knowledge/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 31). Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge. https://studycorgi.com/plato-and-aristotle-views-on-the-concept-of-knowledge/

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StudyCorgi. "Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge." March 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/plato-and-aristotle-views-on-the-concept-of-knowledge/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge." March 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/plato-and-aristotle-views-on-the-concept-of-knowledge/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Plato and Aristotle Views on the Concept of Knowledge'. 31 March.

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