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Critical Exposition Comparing Taoism to Socrates - Essay Example

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Critical Exposition Comparing Taoism to Socrates

It is connected to notions of belief, truth and justification. Meanwhile, Socrates and Taoists have different views on explaining and justifying the theory (Jaakko 32-35). For Socrates, knowledge is universal and even eternal. The universals deal with being, hence, knowledge is through concept. A concept is taken to mean the idea of a group of particulars. The notion of group or class is gotten by comparing a number of particulars under the class and deducing from such comparison what is common and necessary features by doing away with accidental and unwanted characteristics of those particulars. For instance, sheepness is an essential feature in all sheep, but the size and color are accidental attributes of the sheep. Socrates makes a distinction between the universals gotten by conceptual reasoning and perceptual processes. Perception can only produce what is momentary and merely becoming while concept alone can take us to being. Socrates also held the notion of the soul’s immortality its pristine knowledge of the true knowledge of absolute equality, absolute justice, and goodness. He also held the fall of human beings into their ignorant world, cycle of rebirths and of faint recollection of absolute knowledge in their pristine glory. Equal things to us are a representation of absolute equality, since the identified particulars poorly imitate absolute equality. Persons possess knowledge of absolute equality, justice, virtue, goodness among others. But they become inactive in them because of the deception of senses. In their pristine glory, they had them and they always remain in them in inactive state, waiting to be activated by the promptings of observed equality, goodness or beauty. Hence, conceptual knowledge is more recollection. According to Socrates, every man is both self centered and in pursuit of welfare. Selfishness is indeed discouraged in the society because it is associated with hobbesian state nature. The desire for welfare is inborn for every individual and is useful in the society. Besides the two characteristics, Socrates also maintains that an ideal man is just. Though the idea of a just man is not attainable, Socrates continues to argue that an ideal person should strive to achieve justice in the society. An ideal man should be trustworthy and lead a wise life (Jaakko 32-35). Socrates’ profession of his ignorance is widely known because he does not proclaim that he knows nothing. He asserts that he knows nothing valuable. If one understands the nature of human virtues, he will know how to conduct his life. He also comes up with a principle called the priority of definition. One cannot specify what something is unless he provides its definition. Since we have all lived with knowledge buried in us, we only need to reactivate it to bring it to the surface. Knowledge involves the ability to elucidate why things are the way they are. In a nutshell, knowledge is the understanding of the subject matter rather than a guess or an opinion of what something entails. Thus, learning is a recollection (Boufoy 39-51). Taoism View of Knowledge Taoism is one of the major religio-philosophical traditions that have shaped Chinese life for a long time. It is characterized by positive and active attitude towards the theories on the nature of reality. Taoism incorporates the ideas and attitudes of Lao-Tzu (Tao Te Ching) and his later commentators Chuang-Tzu and Lieh – ...Show more


Socrates Conception of Knowledge Epistemology is a theory of philosophy that gives an account of the nature and extent of human knowledge. Alongside metaphysics, logic and ethics, epistemology is the core of philosophy. The main philosopher of this theory is Plato who contributed in explaining the origin of knowledge…
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Critical Exposition Essay Comparing Taoism to Socrates
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