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Philosophy Ideas Ascent: Plato’s and Socrates’s Ideas Essay

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Updated: Nov 7th, 2021

Philosophical views, which were developed in ancient times, are rather up to date now. People relate to these points of view in modern life to find some answers to the question which appear before them. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and other philosophers of ancient times formed their vision of life in such a way that their points of view also remain dominant in our times. Their points of view help us to understand history better, the development of people’s thought and the changes which occur in people’s lives for passed times.

“A Guided Tour of Five Works by Plato” by Christopher Biffle is the gathering of Plato’s philosophical works. Relying on his works we are going to consider the issues of ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, and also explain the three most memorable lessons that Plato and Socrates state in this book.

Metaphysics and epistemology are two notions that are discussed in detail in the “Allegory of the Cave”. Plato explains metaphysics as the material and spiritual division of reality. This division of reality is contradictable. (Biffle 2000) Metaphysics investigates the nature and structure of the world and tries to give an explanation to the changes which occur in the world.

The epistemology of Plato is the belief that a person is born with all knowledge and he/she “takes it out” of the consciousness by learning (Biffle 2000). Everything that a person learns is just the remembering of what is already known. Knowledge in the “Allegory of the Cave” is understood as escaping from the cave and coming outside, in the world. (Biffle 2000)

Ethics is one of the most complicated notions in Plato’s works. Ethics comprises lots of notions that should be considered separately in order to give an explanation of how Plato understands it. As Plato is sure that all knowledge is already present in a person from the very birth, so the notion of good is also inserted in a person’s mind. He understands ethics as the efficiency to maintain good and harmonious order. (Biffle 2000) Ethics is the moral behavior of people, the correspondence of this behavior to state rules in the society.

Plato in his works represents us with Socrates’ lessons which were popular during their times and remain to be up to date in the modern world. One of the Socrates’ lessons that remained in my mind is that it is “better to be the poor servant of a poor master and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner” (Biffle 2000). These words should be understood as follows. It is better to live according to the rules and principles of the life of another person and not be ashamed of it than to live according to false principles. Those who live according to false principles and regard themselves as right are miserable and will never be respected in society.

We may see one more lesson in “Crito” when Socrates is offered to escape but he refuses to say that paying for escape is like paying to evil, and he will never go on that. Socrates is sure that people must resist evil, but to pay evil, even if the reason was injustice, is also wrong.

And the last Socrates’ lesson which I suppose to be very meaningful is the lesson from Plato’s “Apology”. Socrates tells us that our main consideration should be the improvement of our souls. People should care about their own personality and only when they will achieve the peak of soul clearness they can judge other people.

So, Plato’s works can give us lots of hints and lessons on how to live in this world, how to live fairly and with a clean consciousness. Socrates’ lessons in Plato’s works are useful even understanding that they were written hundred years ago.

Works Cited

Biffle, Christopher. A Guided Tour of Five Works by Plato: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo (Death Scene), Allegory of the Cave. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2000.

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