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Plato and Aristotle Epistemology

In many ways, the theories of knowledge offered by Plato (Socrates) and Aristotle are quite similarity, but Plato believes there is only one reality behind all of the phenomena in the world, the realm of the Ideal Forms. Aristotle, in contrast, argued there are a series of realities. At each level, the individual gets closer to the relationships that reveal true knowledge. This analysis will compare and contrast the theories of knowledge offered by Plato and Aristotle in their respective works.

The main contrast between Plato and Aristotle's theories of knowledge is the fact that Plato believed a world of Ideas or ideal forms existed apart from human beings. Aristotle believed no universals could exist apart from their relationship to human beings. We know the physical world through our senses or sensation in Aristotle's view, while only reason discerns universal principles or true knowledge. Plato viewed the universal or ideal forms as existing apart from human beings, though both he and Aristotle argue that knowing these universals stems only from rational contemplation.

In Plato's theories of the Divided Line and the Myth of the Cave, we see the philosopher's theory of knowledge illustrated. In the latter, those in the cave who view the world only through the senses are trapped in what Plato (2008, p. 101) calls the "realm of the visible." Those who do so are locked in an intellectual prison. Those who see the "intelligible" world do so through ration, similarly to Aristotle's argument that knowledge comes via ration (Plato, 2008, p. 101). It is the intelligible realm, that "produces and controls truth and intelligence" that provides true knowledge (Plato, 2008, p. 101). Aristotle argued there is no realm apart from human ration that offers such universal truths.

Aristotle did not believe, like Plato, that ideal ideas existed independently of the human mind but were rather produ...

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