Plato and Aristotle
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Plato describes a cave where people are chained up and can only see shadows cast on a wall. He parallels these shadows to the things that people see in the world around them, the materialistic reality that most people base their lives on. He parallels the chains to norms, customs, traditions, habits, etc. Plato believes that because people are so preoccupied with these shadows of the truth, they ignore the real truth. He parallels these shadows to the things that people see in the world around them, the materialistic reality that most people base their lives on. So, it makes sense that Plato wouldnt want to discount the possibility of a philosopher king based on the fact that he has never seen one, because it could be the “shadows” fooling him into believing that no such man exists. Aristotle, on the other hand, bases his beliefs on what he can see, and what has been
Good tragedy raises fear, pity. Pity is sympathy. We Identify Oedipus the king in order to have sympathy we need to identify. Terror is always this could be me. You think pity and then terror kicks in. Catharsis Is a release You dont have to experience your reality. We all have murderous feelings. It also means to purge ; they probably have been a purging affect when we go to a play. It puts us in touch with our strong emotions.
Aristotle also believes that this monarchy run by the perfect ruler that Plato describes would be ideal, if it were possible. However, Aristotle doesnt believe that a perfectly just person exists. Aristotle says that “if” such a perfectly just person did exist he would be a “God among men”, and there are no gods among men. So, Aristotle discounts the possibility of the existence of such a form of government, and moves on to government systems that he believes could realistically exist. Plato can imagine pure justice, and can imagine man who is purely just. It isnt relevant to Plato whether he has ever met such a man; he just assumes that since he can imagine such a man, it must be possible for such a man to exist. So, it makes sense that Plato wouldnt want to discount the possibility of a philosopher king based on the fact that he has never seen one, because it could be the “shadows” fooling him into believing that no such man exists. Aristotle, on the other hand, bases his beliefs on what he can see, and what has been proven. He has never seen a man that is purely just, and he can see no example of such a man in history, so he discounts the possibility of the existence of a purely just man. This example of the differences in Plato an Aristotles different views on government could be expanded and clarified to a much greater extent than I have done here, however I dont believe that it would help to show which is better. Comparing their theories of government would make this task difficult, if not impossible, because such a comparison is so complex. So I would like to move on to an example of their different views that has been historically tested, the issue of women. In Greek civilization, women are seen to be inferior to men. They dont vote, or hold political office. In the household, the man is in charge, and the woman obeys. Women arent educated (so they seem stupider than men do), and they are obviously weaker physically than men are. Both Plato and Aristotle live in this civilization where women seem to be unequal to men, but they have different opinions about the significance of this inequality. Aristotle believes that women are inferior to men by nature (Politics 17, 26). Men hold political offices, and women dont; men give orders, and women obey. This has been true in every civilization that Aristotle knows about. Aristotle looks at these facts in the world around him, past and present, and uses the facts that he sees to explain reality. In Aristotles opinion women are obviously not inclined by nature to rule or be educated, because he can look around and see that they dont do these things. He bases his beliefs on tangible, provable evidence. Plato, on the other hand, disregards the fact that women seem to be inferior to men. He can imagine a woman that is worthy of ruling or being educated, and doesnt care that he can find no example of such a woman. He would argue that the reason he can find no example is that the “chains” of custom prevent such a woman from existing. He doesnt allow himself to be fooled by the “shadows” of inferior women that he sees in his society. he argues that women should be treated as mens equals, despite the fact that this idea seems very far-fetched in his time. In post-womans movement America, it seems apparent that Plato was more accurate in his assessment of womens capabilities. We can, in America, find many examples of women that are capable of ruling and being educated. A similar