Plato- “According to Plato, man is a dual creature. We have a body that ‘flows’, is inseparably bound to the world of senses, and is subject to the same fate as everything else in this world– a soap bubble, for example. All our sense are based in the body and are consequently unreliable. But we also have an immortal soul– and this soul is the realm of reason and not being physical, this soul can survey the world of ideas… Plato also believed the soul existed before it inhabited the body” (Gaarder 88). Aristotle- “What Aristotle called the ‘form’ chicken is present in every single chicken as the chicken’s particular set characteristics– for one, that it lays eggs. The real chicken and the form chicken are thus just as inseparable as body and soul” (Gaarder 107). In the first quote the author is talking about Plato’s beliefs. Plato looked for the immutable in our world. But unlike most of those before him, Plato believed that humans have a physical and spiritual body. The physical body can only interact with the things in the physical realm, but our soul can interact with the ream of ideas. This quote indicates that Plato believed the world of ideas and reason to be everlasting whereas our world (and more so the things in it) is subject to death and the natural cycle of life. This quote seems to relate to the basic Hindu philosophy. In Hinduism, there are also two worlds, the soul or “atma” and the physical world. Hindus, like Plato, believe that true knowledge can only come once a person has been to the other world. Both believe that the soul is perfect and knows all before it enters the body, but it loses all knowledge as it enters. In the second quote, the author is talking about Aristotle’s beliefs. Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that the physical body and the soul were inseparable. He believed that there was no spiritual world, and anything we can observe through our senses is real. This is extremely similar to an Atheistic worldview, which also believes in gaining knowledge through observation. Of course, Aristotle was not an Atheist, but his thinking process is not very different from an Atheist’s. Aristotle also reminds me of the quote “Seeing is believing” said in the bible by “Doubting Thomas” because he used his senses to to determine the characteristics of the “form hicken”. Personally, I agree with Plato’s idea that our soul is the realm of reason. I believe that our soul tells us right from wrong. This explains how many people can come to the same conclusion and think of the same ideas, even if the people themselves are very different from each other. I disagree with Aristotle’s core belief that the body and soul are inseparable. However, I do believe that they are connected. I think that the soul helps guide our bodies through life, so we can gain wisdom through experience. These two philosophers may seem to be very different, but they both had a few important things in common. They both believed in logic and reasoning. This is important because it shows how logic and reasoning were tools used by most, if not all philosophers. And secondly, they both looked at the big picture of life, while many people in that time (and this one) are stuck in the day-to-day. I think that this is the most important lesson we can take away from Plato and Aristotle because many of us get caught up in insignificant things, instead of looking for the greater purpose in life.
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