Plato And Descartes


Nowadays, philosophy is considered to be one of the most vital disciplines in the modern science. There is a fair range of philosophers who provide particular theories to the ongoing subjects. One of such subject is the understanding of the human knowledge. This phenomenon has deeply ingrained in the theory of philosophy and has become the most controversial issue for scientists. Consequently, there are a lot of assumptions concerning the value of human knowledge and its influence of human existence. That is why such philosophers as Plato and Descartes provide their own analysis of the mentioned phenomenon. The main purposes of the paper is to determine the fundamental issues of the human knowledge as well as point out similarities and differences in the theories of both philosophers.

The first thing that should be analyzed is the notion of human knowledge. Basically, both philosophers stick to the point that every human being is born with the innate knowledge of the world. Moreover, they state that humans are born with “blank slate” and they gain some knowledge through experiences. This approach is known as Empiricism. What is more, Plato as well as Descartes uses this approach to explain human reasoning. Plato emphasizes that a human soul is eternal and exists in a “world of forms” before life. The whole process of learning is the act of remembering “shadows” of the forms on the Earth. Descartes, in his turn, suggests that inborn ideas that every human possesses are of geometric truths and all knowledge can be accessed through reason.

One more relevant issue is the similarities in the theories of both philosophers. Plato and Descartes state that humans have knowledge of physical world. Nevertheless, the vital objects of knowledge are basic laws of physics. Every human can gain some knowledge by means of the senses, but only after arranging a priori – the basic knowledge. What is more, they state that mathematics is the true knowledge of justice. The reason is quite obvious mathematics helps to calculate any issue and gain the accurate result. That is why both philosophers have a wide range of similarities in their approaches, concerning the notion of knowledge.

The last issue is differences in the theories of Plato and Descartes. The main difference is that Plato uses his senses together with a priori reasoning to judge the world. Descartes states that senses are misleading and knowledge can only appear by reasoning. Moreover, Plato’s theory of ideas is caused by looking at words that show main concepts by thinking that content is most real. Descartes separates reality from thinking emphasizing that reality is not common to sense reality. Thought contrary to being realty according to Plato, are for Descartes mental. Our ideas are controversial to reality.

All in all, the opinions of Plato and Descartes are similar as well as different. According to Plato we see shadows instead of real objects. According to Descartes we possess object through reason. In fact, both Plato and Descartes theories end in the same way, namely to reach the Goodness, but their means are controversial respectively.

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