Essay: Plato and his Views

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  • Subject area(s): Philosophy essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published on: February 10, 2020
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  • Plato and his Views
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Plato argues that there is a difference between sense-perception and knowledge. Many of us assume that we know the world through our eyes. All we have to do is open our eyes and whatever is in front of us is real. When learning philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology. Plato a well-known philosopher famously defined knowledge as “justified true belief”. Plato postulated that a reality outside of what a common human experiences exists. He goes to prove his theory by comparing human experiences through their senses to those of the caveman looking at shadow play on the cave walls. The cavemen have never really experienced anything but they are forced to believe that there is a reality thanks to those shadows.
Plato claims that there is a reality outside of that. For instance, when talking about cavemen, there is something or someone outside the cave that helps project those shadows. There is always a source of light for example the sun which proved the light, a whole world exists outside of the cave but since the caveman is focused on the shadows they don’t even notice that. To the caveman the shadows are a reality so anything that isn’t a shadow isn’t real. Plato argues that it doesn’t matter how accurately our senses can detect the shadows the argument is that there is a reality outside of what our senses can perceive. The original philosophy argument, from Plato 2500 years ago, didn’t doubt sense impressions as such: The cave analogy assumes that the sense impressions of the caveman accurately reflected the shadow play on the cave wall. Many philosophers including Plato argue that there is an entire world outside of what a normal human perceives. In simple words, the answer to the question is that you could always be missing something.
Platonic realism, the theory of reality which was developed by Plato. It states that the visible world of things is an exhibition, similar to shadows on the wall. Whereas the visible world of particulars is unreal, the Theory of Forms occupy the unobservable yet true reality and are real. Plato considered that the mind is the one thing that can access the timeless reality of truths, the realm of the Forms casting the visible world. The famous allegory of the cave, Plato suggests that humans only know the real world as shadows of the real things they see interacting on a wall.
Plato’s character Socrates suggests that knowledge is not perception because if “perceiving” is equivalent to “knowing,” then when one does not perceive a thing, he no longer possesses the knowledge of the thing that he perceives. Perception on this view can be defined as an instant “phenomenon” in which sense organs partake in interactions with external objects through the act of perceiving. External objects stimulate bodily senses through such interaction from which a type of perception – color, taste, smell, or touch – is experienced. When the act of perceiving ceases to take place, Plato claims that on the view that knowledge is perception, we no longer gain access to the knowledge of the perceived objects.

In conclusion, Plato views perception and conceptualization of perception as separate concepts. He explicitly distinguishes the gap between the very moment of perception and the subsequent process of perception in which sensory stimuli are connected to sensory categories. In addition, animals that are incapable of reasoning are also born with perceptibility just like a man. If a man and an animal were to have the same capacity to perceive in their infant stage, perception can be defined as something devoid of reasoning. Thus Plato’s view of perception is ultimately non-conceptualist – one that considers perception as mere sensory awareness of external stimuli in representational content without subsequent conceptualization of the sensation. According to Plato, perception and conceptualization of perception are two separate concepts residing in different realms, controlled by different entities.

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