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Platonic and Knowledge-Definition Claims - Essay Example

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Platonic and Knowledge-Definition Claims

I do not agree with the knowledge-definition claim because I think it is possible to recognize a concept (like a book) and have no clue about the elements of a Socratic definition of that concept.
I am very comfortable with the Platonic claim because it relies upon observation and classification. It defines a concept in terms of its characteristics, and eliminates those things which do not exhibit the same elements. In my example of the table, it is very easy to observe the primary elements of tables. A table will have a flat surface upon which something can be placed. It will have some sort of a support structure, whether legs or a post, which elevates the flat surface. It is therefore easy to apply the Platonic claim in seeking to define a table; if an object has a flat surface and a support system, it is a table. Armed with the knowledge of these intrinsic features, even though there are only two in my simplified example, I can confidently identify tables and distinguish them from non-tables.
If an object, say a broom, is presented to me, I can immediately define it in terms of its "table-ness" by looking to the object's characteristics and applying the Platonic claim. A broom does not have a flat surface supported by a stable structure. It may have a flat surface, e.g., the sides of the bristles or the top of the platform that holds the bristles. It certainly has a structure; the handle and bristle binding. But it is not a table because there is not a flat surface where something can be placed while being supported by the structure.
Articulated in Platonic terms, there is the concept of a table (T) that has two features; a flat surface able to accommodate the placement of other things (F1) and a support structure that elevates the surface to a useful height (F2). Therefore, T=F1+F2. For any object under analysis, that particular object cannot be a T if it lacks F1 and F2. T may have diversity within its features, like a surface that is round or rectangular, as long as the primary element of F1 is met. T can have different examples of a support structure, like three or more legs, a central post with feet, etc., as long as the essential characteristics of F2 are met. The object may even have other features, like drawers or decorative elements, which fall outside of the primary definition given here; but as long as the elements of an object exhibit both F1 and F2, it is a table. The broom, lacking these features is then readily identified as something other than a table.
I do not agree with the knowledge-definition claim. This claim asserts that if a person knows what a thing is, they know a Socratic definition of that thing. While I understand the method, and believe that it might have useful applicability in limited scenarios, I think it is possible to recognize an object without knowing what that object truly is. To illustrate the distinction I am making, I will use another simple object; a book. It is certainly possible to recognize a book without understanding what it is. An individual may know that an object with a cover and pages of text is a book. They do not even have to be literate to recognize the object as a book, as they ...Show more

Summary

The Greek philosopher Plato writes extensively of the dialectic methods used by Socrates. The foundation upon which the Socratic philosophy rests is made up of two principles. First, the Platonic claim where for any concept (C) (like a table), there is some intrinsic feature or combination of features (F's) that all tables have, and which all non-tables lack…
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Platonic and Knowledge-Definition Claims essay example
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