Philosophy Answer Writing Practice - Week 1 - Question 1
90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 04-Dec-2017
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04-Dec-2017 - Question 1
In what sense ideas be both immanent and transcendent? Discuss in this context Plato's theory of universals and particulars.(2017)
Plato was occupied with the question of knowledge(of reality) and like his master Socrates, he believed that that Knowledge was possible. He rejected the contention of Sophists that Knowledge was through perception since if it were so then what appears to a fool is true for him and that is not acceptable. For Plato, knowledge lay in the realm of ideas which he said is possible to be known through rational insight. These Ideas are nothing but the essences of the things which we know in the sensible world. Plato uses the dialectical method to get to them
Ideas or forms are the true substance according to Plato. They are indivisible, immutable, eternal and belong to the transcendental realm of existence. They are transcendental in the sense that they are not like the objects of the sensible world which are in a state of constant flux. Here, Plato borrows the concept of Parmenides, according to whom the substances are constant and unchangeable and this he applies to the transcendental Ideas which remain same irrespective of what happens in the sensible world.
Then how does Plato explain the sensible world? For this Plato uses the copy theory of ideas(or participation theory of ideas). He says that the things in the sensible world are mere copies of these transcendental ideas. These things imitate the ideas in an imperfect way, whereas the ideas are perfect in themselves. In this way, Plato explains the change and movement which we see in the sensible world. Here he borrows the concept of flux from another Greek philosopher, Heraclitus . The ideas are immanent in this world in so far as they in participate in the becoming of things in the sensible world.
Thus in this context, Plato explains the transcendence and immanence of ideas.
Criticism: Aristotle criticises the realm of transcendental ideas, He says that the ideas cant exist outside of the particular in which they exist. He, therefore, brings these ideas from transcendence to immanence and establishes his theory of substance containing both form and matter.
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