This theory is actually very crucial in explaining Plato’s epistemological position.
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that explains knowledge. This branch of philosophy seeks an explanation of the characteristics that can be used to distinguish the knowledge that is adequate and the one that is inadequate. Epistemological positions are views of philosophers about the issue of what constitutes adequate and inadequate knowledge. Rationalism is one of the epistemological positions that dominate philosophy. According to Heylighen (par. 3), rationalism is viewing knowledge as a product of rational reflection. The rational reflection is a product of personal innate experience that an individual develops over time.
Plato’s general rationalism is the basis of Plato’s epistemological position. According to this rationalism, knowledge is an awareness of absolute, universal ideas or forms that exist independent of subject (Heylighen par. 2). This rationalism identifies what could be philosophically regarded as knowledge according to Plato. The thesis of this paper is that this methodology used by Plato was successful in identifying what could be regarded as knowledge regardless of subjects. This thesis is explained and evaluated in the remaining part of the paper.
Plato views knowledge from an angle different from other philosophers. According to Scaltsas (1), Plato views knowledge as a mental power that is very different from other mental powers like opinion, sight, and hearing. This is because of its unique ability to influence other mental powers. It is knowledge that enhances interpretation of information acquired through hearing and seeing. This shows that knowledge is a much stronger mental power compared to these other mental powers. Moreover, Plato in his theory of knowledge draws a distinction between things and form. He perceives things as aspects of reality perceived through senses