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Three Philosophers Paper

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Running Heading: THREE PHILOSOPHERS PAPER

Three Philosophers Paper

Rico Cole

University of Phoenix

PHL/464

April 26, 2006

Three Philosophers Paper

Socrates

A philosopher of Athens generally regarded as one of the wisest people of all time. It is not known who his teachers were, but he seems to have been acquainted with the doctrines of Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Anaxagoras. (Marvin, 2000) Socrates himself left no writings, and most of our knowledge of him and his teachings comes from the dialogues of his most famous pupil, Plato, and from the memoirs of Xenophon. (Marvin, 2000)

Socrates is described as having neglected his own affairs, instead spending his time discussing virtue, justice, and piety wherever his fellow citizens congregated, seeking wisdom about right conduct so that he might guide the moral and intellectual improvement of Athens. Using a method now known as the Socratic dialogue, or dialectic, he drew forth knowledge from his students by pursuing a series of questions and examining the implications of their answers. (Marvin, 2000)

Socrates equated virtue with the knowledge of one's true self, holding that no one knowingly does wrong. He looked upon the soul as the seat of both waking consciousness and moral character, and held the universe to be purposively mind-ordered. (Marvin, 2000)

To establish truth by the teachings of Socrates was to gain knowledge by asking the correct philosophical questions, used as the basis for study. Socrates equated virtue with the knowledge of one's true self, holding that no one knowingly does wrong. He looked upon the soul as the seat of both waking consciousness and moral character, and held the universe to be purposively mind-ordered.

Plato

Plato is an astute and important philosopher, who writes beautifully and with great power and elegance on Truth and Reality. His work is still profoundly important in today's Post-modern world, and can be easily understood due to its simplicity of language and engaging style of dialogue.

In 407 B.C. he became a pupil and friend of Socrates. After living for a time at the Syracuse court, Plato founded near Athens the most influential school of the ancient world, the Academy, where he taught until his death. His most famous pupil there was Aristotle. Plato's extant work is in the form of epistles and dialogues, divided according to the probable order of composition. (Ross, 2005)

The early, or Socratic, dialogues, e.g., the Apology, Meno, and Gorgias, present Socrates in conversations that illustrate his major ideas-the unity of virtue and knowledge and of virtue and happiness. They also contain Plato's moving account of the last days and death of Socrates. (Ross, 2005) Plato's goal in dialogues of the middle years, e.g., the Republic, Phaedo, Symposium, and Timaeus, was to show the rational relationship between the soul, the state, and the cosmos. (Ross, 2005)

Plato regarded the rational soul as immortal, and he believed in a world soul and a Demiurge, the creator of the physical world. He argued for the independent reality of Ideas, or Forms, as the immutable archetypes of all temporal phenomena and as the only guarantee of ethical standards and of objective scientific knowledge. (Ross, 2005)

Plato's hypothesis that our soul was once in a better place and now lives in a fallen world made it easy to combine platonic philosophy and Christianity, which accounts for the popularity of Platonism in Late Antiquity. One element, however, was not acceptable: the idea of platonic love - a homosexual relation with pedagogical aspects.

Aristotle

Plato's most famous student was the Macedonian scientist Aristotle of Stagira (384-322). After the death of his master, he studied biology and accepted a position as teacher of the Macedonian crown prince Alexander at Mieza. When the Macedonians subdued Greece, Aristotle founded a school at Athens. (Fowler , 2005)

Most of his

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