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Aristotle and Plato on Realism - Essay Example

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Aristotle and Plato on Realism

When Aristotle and Plato are contrasted, it becomes clear that their efforts were largely responsible for the inclusion of metaphysical inquiry into Western philosophical thought. Both philosophers provided highly differing views on reality and the way it could be conceptualised but this does not serve to indicate that their views were altogether opposed to each other. Instead, there are fine lines where both Plato and Aristotle tend to agree and other areas where they tend to disagree. This paper will explore areas where both philosophers tend to agree on the domain of realism. Plato held that the ultimate reality behind an object were notions or concepts of that object. He argued that things in the physical world are merely abstract representations of various kinds of universal concepts. It could be argued that Plato thought that in order to understand reality it was necessary to approach the world of various ideas. This method of interpreting reality has been labelled as Platonic realism where ideas are given greater preference to the physical object in ruder to perceive reality. Plato also holds that the true nature of reality revolves around the idea that abstract universals create the physical reality. However, there are limitations on perceiving these universals because in effect these universals have no spatial or temporal characteristics that could be realised or tested. In his treatise on the issue, Plato has argued that all physical objects have some kind of a universal form. These universal forms exist outside the realm of these objects but one cannot perceive these universals. The object in question can be physically observed such as by visual observation and this could be enhanced by studying the object in detail to form concepts about it. This would in turn allow the object under scrutiny to develop a physical reality based on concepts and notions of universals that support its existence. In order to support the ideas behind and the existence of universals Plato rested his argument on a few other elements. These elements included the principles of self-predication, one over many and non-self partaking. When these ideas are put together, they tend to culminate into a greater understanding of Platonic realism. Furthermore, these ideas tend to serve as the bedrock and foundation for Platonic world of forms and in effect for Plato’s conception on reality (Bakalis). When Aristotle’s ideas on reality are considered, it can be said that his conception of reality differed from that of Plato but not very significantly. Aristotle’s conception of ultimate reality is not as highly differentiated from Plato’s realism as is often projected in texts. The bedrock of Aristotle’s ultimate reality is based on instantiated universals while the basis for Plato’s realism is un-instantiated universals. Much like Plato, Aristotle held that the universal form of any physical object is not removed from the object itself. Instead this kind of existence is used as predication for the existence of the object under question. In addition, Aristotle also held that the form of the object under question did not exist in a separate mystical world held by Plato but instead it existed within the existence of that object itself (Jackson). The Platonic world of forms is where Plato believed the form of an object to exist. However, Aristotle held t ...Show more
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Summary

Aristotle and Plato on Realism The ancient Greek world was one of burgeoning intellectual enterprise. A number of the most noted philosophers from around the world have been impacted with the work of Greek philosophers. This influence continues from the time of these philosophers to the present day indicating the intellectual weight of these ideas…
Aristotle and Plato on Realism
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