Plato’s philosophy begins with a problem of knowledge. What did Socrates know?
When one knows... What is it exactly that anyone knows (when they know it)? What qualities must any object of knowledge have? How can we distinguish true knowing from mere opinion?
is certain, absolute & objective It is one and complete Its object is the form of a thing grasped by reason Is uncertain, relative, subjective It is many, diverse, incomplete Its object is some thing in a changing world grasped by senses Knowledge Opinion
The Divided Line A B C D E Images, reflections Sense objects Objects of math Forms imagination opinion reasoning understanding
Plato’s Two-world theory: Reality & Knowledge are Dual The Forms Grasped by Reason Physical World Experienced through senses
Question: How is it possible to achieve real knowledge, if our lives are embedded in sense experience? Answer: Our souls must have had a prior existence when they were in contact with the forms. Soul is the our conduit to knowledge.
All Knowledge is Remembering We once existed as pure forms living with the One, the True, the Good and the Beautiful We now exist in a world of change and sense and we have forgotten the Truth –distracted by our bodies, by sensation.
“Know thy self” The goal of life is to remember the Truth that we have always known and that we now find reflected in the “form” of things.
Take care of your soul A living model of the best sort of human life Our soul’s fate depends on our choices.
Ethics An explanation of “the good” for human beings Self & society An explanation of how society should be organized & governed Epistemology An explanation of human knowledge Metaphysics An explanation of reality An integrated system of philosophy
“Follow the argument.” No matter where it leads.