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Plato's Metaphysics of Education.
These considerations lead us to adopt the following criteria of genuineness: (1) That is most certainly Plato’s which Aristotle attributes to him by name, which (2) is of considerable length, of (3) great excellence, and also (4) in harmony with the general spirit of the Platonic writings. But the testimony of Aristotle cannot always be distinguished from that of a later age (see above); and has various degrees of importance. Those writings which he cites without mentioning Plato, under their own names, e. g. the Hippias, the Funeral Oration, the Phaedo, etc., have an inferior degree of evidence in their favour. They may have been supposed by him to be the writings of another, although in the case of really great works, e. g. the Phaedo, this is not credible; those again which are quoted but not named, are still more defective in their external credentials. There may be also a possibility that Aristotle was mistaken, or may have confused the master and his scholars in the case of a short writing; but this is inconceivable about a more important work, e. g. the Laws, especially when we remember that he was living at Athens, and a frequenter of the groves of the Academy, during the last twenty years of Plato’s life. Nor must we forget that in all his numerous citations from the Platonic writings he never attributes any passage found in the extant dialogues to any one but Plato. And lastly, we may remark that one or two great writings, such as the Parmenides and the Politicus, which are wholly devoid of Aristotelian (1) credentials may be fairly attributed to Plato, on the ground of (2) length, (3) excellence, and (4) accordance with the general spirit of his writings. Indeed the greater part of the evidence for the genuineness of ancient Greek authors may be summed up under two heads only: (1) excellence; and (2) uniformity of tradition—a kind of evidence, which though in many cases sufficient, is of inferior value.
20. Two arguments of this ethical character occur in the Phaedo. The first may be described as the aspiration of the soul after another state of being. Like the Oriental or Christian mystic, the philosopher is seeking to withdraw from impurities of sense, to leave the world and the things of the world, and to find his higher self. Plato recognizes in these aspirations the foretaste of immortality; as Butler and Addison in modern times have argued, the one from the moral tendencies of mankind, the other from the progress of the soul towards perfection. In using this argument Plato has certainly confused the soul which has left the body, with the soul of the good and wise. (Cp. Rep. x. 611 C.) Such a confusion was natural, and arose partly out of the antithesis of soul and body. The soul in her own essence, and the soul ‘clothed upon’ with virtues and graces, were easily interchanged with one another, because on a subject which passes expression the distinctions of language can hardly be maintained.
Plato/Education Essay Example for Free
The Greek in the age of Plato admitted praise to be one of the chief incentives to moral virtue, and to most men the opinion of their fellows is a leading principle of action. Hence a certain element of seeming enters into all things; all or almost all desire to appear better than they are, that they may win the esteem or admiration of others. A man of ability can easily feign the language of piety or virtue; and there is an unconscious as well as a conscious hypocrisy which, according to Socrates, is the worst of the two. Again, there is the sophistry of classes and professions. There are the different opinions about themselves and one another which prevail in different ranks of society. There is the bias given to the mind by the study of one department of human knowledge to the exclusion of the rest; and stronger far the prejudice engendered by a pecuniary or party interest in certain tenets. There is the sophistry of law, the sophistry of medicine, the sophistry of politics, the sophistry of theology. All of these disguises wear the appearance of the truth; some of them are very ancient, and we do not easily disengage ourselves from them; for we have inherited them, and they have become a part of us. The sophistry of an ancient Greek sophist is nothing compared with the sophistry of a religious order, or of a church in which during many ages falsehood has been accumulating, and everything has been said on one side, and nothing on the other. The conventions and customs which we observe in conversation, and the opposition of our interests when we have dealings with one another (‘the buyer saith, it is nought—it is nought,’ etc.), are always obscuring our sense of truth and right. The sophistry of human nature is far more subtle than the deceit of any one man. Few persons speak freely from their own natures, and scarcely any one dares to think for himself: most of us imperceptibly fall into the opinions of those around us, which we partly help to make. A man who would shake himself loose from them, requires great force of mind; he hardly knows where to begin in the search after truth. On every side he is met by the world, which is not an abstraction of theologians, but the most real of all things, being another name for ourselves when regarded collectively and subjected to the influences of society.
We may further observe that the art of government, while in some respects tending to improve, has in others a tendency to degenerate, as institutions become more popular. Governing for the people cannot easily be combined with governing by the people: the interests of classes are too strong for the ideas of the statesman who takes a comprehensive view of the whole. According to Socrates the true governor will find ruin or death staring him in the face, and will only be induced to govern from the fear of being governed by a worse man than himself (Rep. i. 347 C). And in modern times, though the world has grown milder, and the terrible consequences which Plato foretells no longer await an English statesman, any one who is not actuated by a blind ambition will only undertake from a sense of duty a work in which he is most likely to fail; and even if he succeed, will rarely be rewarded by the gratitude of his own generation.
Plato Education Essay - 384 Words - StudyMode
Plato outlines the philosopher-king as a man who has been given the best education, his wisdom is tempered by worldly experience and he has a soul of gold, he rules by the virtue of his merit and ability and because he has transcended the bonds of petty politics.
Plato is of the opinion that such aristocratic system works as a benevolent government, seeking out the traits of these different classes of people, and educating and training them in a way which is suitable for their future positions in life.
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Plato is known as one of the earliest thinkers on education
10. The last ground of our belief in immortality, and the strongest, is the perfection of the divine nature. The mere fact of the existence of God does not tend to show the continued existence of man. An evil God or an indifferent God might have had the power, but not the will, to preserve us. He might have regarded us as fitted to minister to his service by a succession of existences,—like the animals, without attributing to each soul an incomparable value. But if he is perfect, he must will that all rational beings should partake of that perfection which he himself is. In the words of the Timaeus, he is good, and therefore he desires that all other things should be as like himself as possible. And the manner in which he accomplishes this is by permitting evil, or rather degrees of good, which are otherwise called evil. For all progress is good relatively to the past, and yet may be comparatively evil when regarded in the light of the future. Good and evil are relative terms, and degrees of evil are merely the negative aspect of degrees of good. Of the absolute goodness of any finite nature we can form no conception; we are all of us in process of transition from one degree of good or evil to another. The difficulties which are urged about the origin or existence of evil are mere dialectical puzzles, standing in the same relation to Christian philosophy as the puzzles of the Cynics and Megarians to the philosophy of Plato. They arise out of the tendency of the human mind to regard good and evil both as relative and absolute; just as the riddles about motion are to be explained by the double conception of space or matter, which the human mind has the power of regarding either as continuous or discrete.
FREE Plato's Ideal State and his Theory of Education Essay
4. Modern philosophy is perplexed at this whole question, which is sometimes fairly given up and handed over to the realm of faith. The perplexity should not be forgotten by us when we attempt to submit the Phaedo of Plato to the requirements of logic. For what idea can we form of the soul when separated from the body? Or how can the soul be united with the body and still be independent? Is the soul related to the body as the ideal to the real, or as the whole to the parts, or as the subject to the object, or as the cause to the effect, or as the end to the means? Shall we say with Aristotle, that the soul is the entelechy or form of an organized living body? or with Plato, that she has a life of her own? Is the Pythagorean image of the harmony, or that of the monad, the truer expression? Is the soul related to the body as sight to the eye, or as the boatman to his boat? (Arist. de Anim. ii. 1, 11, 12.) And in another state of being is the soul to be conceived of as vanishing into infinity, hardly possessing an existence which she can call her own, as in the pantheistic system of Spinoza? or as an individual informing another body and entering into new relations, but retaining her own character? (Cp. Gorgias, 524 B, C.) Or is the opposition of soul and body a mere illusion, and the true self neither soul nor body, but the union of the two in the ‘I’ which is above them? And is death the assertion of this individuality in the higher nature, and the falling away into nothingness of the lower? Or are we vainly attempting to pass the boundaries of human thought? The body and the soul seem to be inseparable, not only in fact, but in our conceptions of them; and any philosophy which too closely unites them, or too widely separates them, either in this life or in another, disturbs the balance of human nature. No thinker has perfectly adjusted them, or been entirely consistent with himself in describing their relation to one another. Nor can we wonder that Plato in the infancy of human thought should have confused mythology and philosophy, or have mistaken verbal arguments for real ones.
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