Thursday, September 22, 2016
Weekly Essay: Platonic vs. Aristotelian Phlosophy (H1)
The great Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle's views have influenced countless scholars and philosophers over the centuries, they themselves being polar opposites with regards to how the world should be perceived in order to fully understand truth. Platonic sympathizers tend to be the mystically-minded and the religiously-devoted, seeking truth in ideas and divine aspects beyond the plane of profane physical matter. On the other hand, those who adhere more closely to the teachings of Aristotle are our scientists and pragmatics, people who study the world around them to understand the deep secrets of the world. While Platonists tend to ignore the world around them because of their easily manipulated physical senses, and Aristotelians often entirely deny the possibility of higher powers beyond the comprehension of the systems we use to quantify our world, I find that a kind of middle ground is actually the best path to take. I understand that the senses are easily muddled, but I also acknowledge that it is equally easy for one to lose themselves in a web of confused thoughts, and for the mind to spend an eternity running circles around itself until it shatters into a thousand pieces under the pressure of trying to comprehend infinity. I believe that we should strive to make sense of the world around us as long as it appears to be reality, but be willing to accept the possibility that we are wrong if provided with enough evidence. Blind faith is easily bent to the wills of the sadistic, and everyone should be free to determine for themselves whether or not to accept faith and divine ideas, and if so then how to interpret them. It is important to remain neutral and to weigh all available evidence before deciding whether you find more truth in the physical world or that which is beyond our comprehension. As Russell said about Saint Thomas Aquinas, there is no philosophical spirit in contemplating arguments against that which you already believe (and intend to prove) is true. It is ok to hold certain preconceptions about this philosophy, but instead of instinctively disproving the opposition, challenge said preconceptions from a neutral position. If you ultimately decide that your initial beliefs were not sound after weighing all the evidence, then you have learned something new about yourself and the world you live in. If your preconceptions stand strong against the arguments provided, then you can say that you are not a victim of blind faith (or the lack thereof), because you actually tested your beliefs without bias and came to the conclusion that they are as sound and true as you had thought.