Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blog #21 - Whose arguments do you think make more sense to you?

Since we're discussing Plato and Aristotle in our Greek unit, we should analyze the rift between the two concerning what is more reliable: our reason (Plato) or our senses (Aristotle)? To quote Sophie's World, Gaarder writes:

"Taking it to extremes, we could say that Plato was so engrossed in his eternal
forms or "ideas" that he took very little notice of changes in nature.
Aristotle, on the other hand, was preoccupied with these changes ...or natural
processes. To exaggerate even more...Plato turned his back on the sensory world
and shut his eyes to everything we see around us...Aristotle did the opposite:
he got down on all fours and studied frogs and fish, anemones and poppies"

- Plato put eternal forms above and beyond the senses (the reality that we sense isn't the True reality, only the eternal forms are True). When we see a chair, it's just a reflection of the ideal or eternal form of a chair (like in the Matrix where the computers tried to estimate what steak or chicken taste like even though they're just sensory inputs to our brains). These eternal forms resided in our soul; therefore, we are born w/ innate ideas.

This chair wouldn't last forever like the eternal form of a chair, and there are multiple interpretations of this chair throughout history - you can see them in a museum or even at IKEA.

- Aristotle feels that you need to use both your reason and senses to interpret reality. He also disagreed with Plato in that this world we inhabit is the real world. According to Ari, we have to use our senses to figure out this world - our natural world - and that nothing exists in our minds that hasn't already existed previously in nature. In essence, we are born as blank slates and that our senses and reason help make us who we are.

Unlike Aristotle, Plato feels that nothing can exist in the natural world that doesn't already in the Eternal Idea/Form world (our soul). In some ways, Plato believes more in the nature side of the argument (who we are is hardwired into our brains and determines more of our personality than our surroundings) of nature vs. nurture, where as Ari sided with the environment nurturing human development as we grow up.

So, which Greek philosopher do you think makes more sense to you? I realize that some of Plato's ideas might seem esoteric, but contemplate the whole of his system.

Blog response is due by Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2nd hour. Minimum 200 words.


  1. I couldn't completely agree with one philosopher, because truthfully I agree with some ideas from all. Though I do find that I agree very much so with Aristotle on his view that we need both our senses and our logic to determine what is real around us and wht is not. I do believe that our minds are fresh when we are born, open to all kinds of ideas when we are born, mainly for that single reason that ideas can change. Our mind is constantly working to evolve everything around us, even if we aren't aware of it. That is one of the beauty's of the human mind, the constant activity that goes on much further than we are aware of. I do however believe that we born with certain instincts that may over ride all forms of logic in dire cases, if only as a part of our primal defenses. So, I don't agree with just one idea from one philosopher, their ideas make sense, but that doesn't mean I believe just one view.
    Molly-2nd hour

  2. Each Greek Philosopher holds valid perceptions on the world that we live in. Aristotle is just too inclined to prove things physically through his senses and Plato will only believe what he can reason. I can’t completely agree with either of these mentalities, however I can agree with parts of each philosopher’s outlook. I believe in Plato’s method of finding truth, that you can employ common sense and reason in order to understand something or find certainty. But I don’t believe that this will always work, because there are so many events that occur which can not be explained. Certain basic philosophical problems are difficult to understand/explain; this is where Aristotle’s beliefs come into play. Aristotle’s account of sense perception can be used to explain the natural world. But senses cannot always be trusted for accuracy or used to find a truth if they are the only technique we use to interpret something. For example, our eyes may not be able to see a harmful chemical that’s in the air, and because of this, we might walk through a dangerous region, unknowing of any hazards. I can’t agree with Plato on his theory that everything is just a reflection of the ideal or eternal form in our minds. I have to trust my senses that we see what we see and that the computer screen I’m looking at is actually there and that the reality that I sense actually does exist. I know that there is no way to prove that the world that we inhabit is the real world, but I must agree with Aristotle on his conviction of the real world. Again, I cannot completely agree with either Philosopher, but after writing this entry, I’m beginning to lean closer towards Aristotle’s perceptions and hypotheses.
    Nawar Dimitry 2nd Period

  3. Looking at Plato’s beliefs of reason and Aristotle’s beliefs of senses, I agree with Aristotle’s beliefs more than I believe Plato’s. Plato believed that what we sense is not truly there. We are seeing images that were put into our heads when we were born and that we cannot trust our senses because what we are sensing is not actually there. I do not agree with this because I am a person who believes what I see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. Just like Aristotle’s beliefs. He believed that the world that we sense is the real world. That we can trust our senses because everything that we sense it actually there, the real thing. I learn form my senses and that is how I understand many concepts. Im great at learning from books, but learning by hands on activities/experiments create a much better understanding because you can actually see, hear, smell, feel, and taste what is happening. If the world we lived in was not the real world, we would not be able to sense anything at all. If you have never tasted an apple, how could you imagine you have? If you have never felt happiness, how could you imagine being happy? That is why I trust my senses and agree with Aristotle’s approach to the world.

    Jason S
    2nd hour

  4. I don’t completely agree with one philosopher, I belive both senses and reason our reliable. Our senses our reliable because it’s more physically seen and believed. Our senses our vision, touch, smell, taste, and hear. Those things are reliable because they are used so often and you easily go off the results you get from using them. Senses are used daily and I personally always believe them and I never really think nothing else afterwards. Theres also a reason for everything that happens. What ever happens is because it was suspoose to. Something happens every second and there can’t always be an explination for it. We are born with our own minds so everybody has a different thinking method. Both philosophers logics makes sense but I can’t come to one decision from there methods. I think reason and senses kind of works together and relate with eachother. So with that thought theres no choice between the two. Having your own logic oesnt mean your right or wrong it’s just the way you think. Persoanally it seems to that this is a deep thought process or agreement on weather your senses over weighs your reason or your reason over weighs your senses.
    Jasmine Cain 2nd hour

  5. I agree with both Aristole and Plato. Aristole position is you must trust your senses fully and that nothing that exists in this world hasn’t already existed in our minds. I know that I can never fully trust my senses and I believe humans cant either. How could a person trust something that’s not guranteed to anyone? Many people are blind or deaf how do you make up for someone who has lost one of their five senses, you can’t. I know that when I am driving I do a double take just because my eyes can play tricks on me and can cause an illusion of the distance of a car coming up; this is when my logic comes in. As far as Plato position his belief logic and reason should be what you go by. I do believe that you must use reason sometimes but you need to use your senses because the not everything can be explained but you know for a fact it is happening. Can you fully explain stress but you can feel it and there is limited reasoning for feelings but you can feel it and sense it through you reactions. So I believe you need to use your senses and acknowledge them but reasoning and logic should play a role as well. Alanna Albritton 2nd

  6. At first when I began to write my Blog, I couldn’t decide on one philosopher that made the most sense to me. But as the writing process continued, I realized I had many more similar views to Aristotle than to Plato. I agree with Aristotle’s theory about every human being born a blank slate. I think that our minds absorb our everyday surroundings from when we first begin to develop our brains. This is where we begin to grow and establish our own personal ideas, opinions, senses, etc. Although, Aristotle believes that we can rely on our senses, but I don’t think senses can be trusted completely. They don’t necessarily identify the real truth. Plato felt similarly to this idea. He thought that the reality in which we sense, isn’t the True Reality. Plato’s theory was that eternal forms were true. Plato think that’s humans are born with innate idea, but I don’t think that is possible. I agree with Aristotle’s idea about Nature vs. Nurture. I feel like nurture has a huge impact on a person while they continue to grow up. Even though I don’t think that senses should be completely relied upon, I don’t really understand Plato’s theory because I cant grasp my mind around the idea that nothing can exist in the natural world that doesn’t in the Form World.
    -Casey Harrelson 2nd Hr

  7. I don’t think one is more reliable than the other. I think that you can only rely on what you perceive using both reason and your senses. I think that we are born with some reason, and that we develop this reason using our senses. Therefore, I believe that our reason is dependent upon our senses, which means that one is only as reliable as the other. For example, we could watch a movie and see a really cheese killing scene. If we trusted only our senses, we would think that the actors are actually being killed, and we are actually watching a murder. On the other hand, if we were watching a news program where someone actually gets shot, we wouldn’t necessarily believe that it happened, because we could reason that the images on the screen are virtual and therefore the images must not be true. In that case someone actually dies and we don’t believe it, and in the first case nobody dies but we think that they do. We need both senses and reason to figure out which images are real and which are fake. So we can’t have one without the other in my opinion. So if I had to pick one philosopher I would agree with Aristotle, though I don’t believe the whole “nothing exists in our minds that hasn't already existed previously in nature” thing.

    Lisa Miller
    2nd hour

  8. I don’t think that I could really pinpoint a philosopher that I think makes more sense to me. I think that both philosophers have very valid points in different ways, and when their ideas come together, it all makes sense. I think that relying on your senses for everything is not the best idea for many reasons. For instance, many people are color blind, deaf or blind. To these people, they don’t know the difference between colors and they cannot hear or see things. If the most reliable thing was your senses, and you didn’t have any, what would those people do then? I do agree with Plato that our reason is a reliable source and everything happens for a reason. But, I do not agree with the fact that he thinks our senses are not truly there, because if that was true what would we be smelling, tasting, or feeling? If I had to agree with one philosopher more, I would pick Aristotle because I think that our senses help us find a reason and help us live our lives. The fact that Plato believes that the reality that we sense isn't the true reality, only the eternal forms are true I do not agree with. If that was true, half the things we would be looking at would not really be there.


  9. As others have said, both philosophers have some truth to their ideas. I do not fully agree with either one of them; however a blend of the ideas provided by both Aristotle and Plato seem to form a solid theory on the world. For example, Aristotle makes a valid point that in order to prove something is real, you must rely on your senses. Without our senses, we would not have any form of reality because we just wouldn’t physically recognize anything. But sometimes our senses fail us. They do not always permit us to experience reality. This is often the reason behind mistakes we humans make. Along with Aristotle’s basic theory, I agree with some of Plato’s ideas. I agree that we need to rely on our reason and logic, which are vital during those times when we cannot trust our senses alone. Without reason and logic, we could hardly make decisions. But there are some instances in which you cannot use logic. Sometimes there is no real reason for something, it just happens. Such events completely go against what Plato envisioned, but I still believe they occur and will occur as long as mankind exists. This is why, when studying philosophers, you must keep an open mind, because there isn’t always one right answer.
    Claire Hayes

  10. I agree with Aristotle that we are not born with innate ideas, instead forming the concepts by what we observe around us. However, I don’t think that should take away from the focus on the ideas within us that Plato stressed. I believe, like Plato, that each object around us has an eternal form or spirit. But I don’t think that spirit exists right away within us. I think that the spirits of things, although distinctly separate from the concrete objects, exist within nature, not us. I also don’t believe that the eternal form is a product of human reason, instead an extension of our senses. We lose an element of the true spirit of things when we over-analyze and apply our naturally limited perception of logic to our natural surroundings. I think if I had to choose one to side with it would be Aristotle, but I don’t think that Plato’s thinking is without merit. Plato was simply trying to apply his perspective of reason to the universe, which can only take you so far. Neither Plato nor Aristotle got it all right, but then again no philosopher has, or truly can. Combined, these two philosophers probably accomplished the most not through their own theories, but rather spur the millennia long tradition of western philosophy.
    -Alex Aginian

  11. Daniel Sherwood

    Well first of all, I would like to file my complaint that I don’t think the excerpt from Sophie’s World is exactly the most unbiased passage that could have been written about the two. I definitely got a certain condescending tone form reading that, that could just be me, but that’s how I felt about it. My petty and annoying self aside, I would have to say that just like everything in life a little bit of both is probably the best route here. I think that your senses are obviously extremely important; without senses you would be amiss of everything humans dub important (like food, beauty, or music). However reason is a crucial part to an enlightened life. Without reason you would just be someone who accepts everything you see. Now this could undoubtedly put you at a disadvantage, think of how many decisions you’ve made after further reflection on the subject. But just like the plunger needs a toilet reason needs senses. For example, you would not be able to use accurate and sound reason if not for a good hold of your senses. And vice versa, could have Aristotle really analyzed the growth of a tree or the shapes of the stars without good and coherent reason? I think not. So it all just falls into place like that, with everything just being a bit fifty fifty.

  12. Both Greek Philosophers have two very different views on the world. Plato didn't trust his senses, and believed they were defying him. He believed there was a world beyond what he saw, and relied greatly on reason. Aristotle used reason and his senses, but assumed that everything we thought about was real. I personally disagree with both of them. I think they both took valid points, and then over analyzed them. There are points from both Philosophers that make sense to me. I can Understand how plato believed there was something more to the world that he wasn’t seeing. I can understand why he felt that way. Plato was born with out the understanding of how the world worked. Plato could have been colorblind, and never have known it. Its true that if one of the senses doesn’t work correctly, you perception of the world is altered. Aristotle may have trusted his senses to much, but Aristotle accepted basic facts using senses. Plato wasted too much time questioning everything. Aristotle seemed to grasp how the world worked, and just focused on organizing everything he saw. He didn’t come up with crazy ideas, but rather just organized all his thoughts. Plato seemed to go off on a tangent, and Aristotle came in and made sense of his teachers ideas.
    -Chelsea Rosenbaum

  13. Personally, I find that I am more of a sensory-type/Aristotle person as opposed to Plato and his ideas of mental perception. I find that objects you can touch, see, and mold in a certain way is vastly more believable than the concept that our world is simply a mental projection in which we can manipulate objects if we but change our concept of reality. Or, just going out of context, imagine this: all of humanities’ mental projection of reality is pooled together, so even if you felt absurdly sure that you could fly, everyone else’s “reality” impedes your own. So that instead of flying, because an unanimous number of people believe that is impossible, you merely fall instead of soaring through the air with the greatest of ease. Now then, to return to the topic. Aristotle’s concept of the senses is also, probably, built unconsciously into my head because I am a strong advocate of science. And to be frank, If that were to be not true, then a large portion of human history would be called into question and people would be having mental breakdowns and other unpleasantly reactions. This is why I believe that Aristotle had a better way of exploring who we are and all that jazz. Adam Sadler

  14. The Greek philosopher that I think makes the most sense in my mind is Aristotle. To me Plato is wrong about relying on just our reasons and putting eternal forms above and beyond our senses. I think that Aristotle is absolutely right that you need to use both your reason and senses to deal with reality. You need to use your senses to know what’s real in the world and to figure out what exists and what doesn’t. You also need some type of reason to know what actually is true, real, and really exists. I agree one hundred percent that we are born as blank slates into the world and that our senses and reason make up who we are today. I think that as we grow we trust our senses and believe what we want to believe, and that helps us make us who we are now; unlike Plato who believed that we are only seeing images that have been put into our head already and who we are is basically already engraved into our brains and that determines who we are going to be, basically saying its all reason that makes us up. In my opinion, Aristotle makes more sense because I believe the saying “I’ll see it when I believe it”; because I feel that my senses don’t lie to me. That’s why in my mind and reason Aristotle makes the most sense to me.

    Chelsea Kozlowski

  15. I would have to agree with both Plato and Aristotle. Both of Greek philosophers were right in one way or another because I believe that we need both of our reasons and senses to prove reality. Plato only believed the logic and reason to prove things, while Aristotle believed in our senses. From Plato’s standpoint, I can see why he would want reason over senses when it came to finding out the truth. We need to use our explanations and common sense in order to get the right answer. But not everything will work like it should because there are too many ways and things that are unexplainable. From Aristotle’s point of view, he believed that we need to use both of our reasons and senses to understand reality. But, he also said that we must trust our senses fully in order to outline humanity and how nothing that has existed in the world, hasn’t already existed in our minds. For example, the Twilight series; I read all the books before the movie was even out. I was trying to image how the characters should look and feel like through a bunch of words. When actually seeing the characters visual come to life on the big screen, I was able to hear, see, and feel all of the emotions that the book was trying to portray. But, sometimes we can’t trust our senses because not everyone has access to those. It’s hard to choose which philosopher is right because I do believe that we need reason and our senses to figure out what is reality and what is not. We can’t have one without the other.
    annie sovran

  16. I would have to agree with the great old’ Plato. Unlike Aristotle, who believed that we had to trust our senses and as well use reason in life. Plato believed that we had to turn our back on the sensory world and shut our eyes to everything we can see, hear, and even touch around us. Plato was the one who said, let’s look into our eternal worlds, while Aristotle, incorporated reason and trusting our senses in life. For example if the question, is the sky blue was brought up to these two philosophers, Aristotle would say yes and Plato would question is it really. Aristotle would use scientific research and facts that prove that the sky indeed is blue. While on the other hand Plato would question is that just what we were taught to believe in first grade. That for generations we have believed what we “suppose” we see. That way, back in the day some unheard person, decided to speak their opinion and state the sky, in their eyes was purple. And instead of teaching their children, and their children teaching their children that the sky is blue, instead taught their child that the sky was purple. Or how all toddlers eat spinach and immediately what to spit it back out. Like Plato, I question if that child was taught that spinach was delicious and tasted like candy. Would they have the same reaction to the first time they tasted spinach or would they think they were being treated with a sugary delight. So, in this debate of whose belief makes more sense I would have to side with Plato.

    -Jasmine Smith
    2nd HR

  17. From reading the blog and interpreting what I know, I would have to say I have more of Aristotle’s beliefs. I feel that you do need to use both your own reason and senses to really interpret reality. Without your own reason or senses how is one supposed to have their own psychological methods of perception, classification, explanation, good sense or even a motive for your own belief? Your own senses and reasons make up who you are. Plato believes the truth we sense isn’t the “real” truth. Maybe it isn’t the real truth, but what we think is our reality, is all we really have to believe. In order to confirm that something is real one must rely on their own mind and senses. As you grow older, you develop more and more reason toward the world. Our senses develop, along with our ideas and thoughts. Although I agree with h Aristotle, I would like to believe that everything around us comes from something and has a spirit, like Plato. Everything has to come from something or have a spirit, or else the world probably wouldn’t be like it is today.

  18. I have to agree with Aristotle. I think that you need to use both your senses and reason to interpret reality. It makes sense to me that we would need our senses to interpret what is going on around us. For example, if my mom bakes cookies and I am in my room. First, I can smell the cookies. Then a few minutes later I hear a ding come from a timer in the kitchen. I walk into the kitchen and I can see a hot tray of freshly baked cookies. I pick up a cookie and put it in my mouth; I can without a doubt taste it. To me this cookie is definitely there and is real. I do not agree with Plato. I do not agree with his theory on how the reality that we sense isn’t the True reality. I do not think that this is possible. I believe that what I am seeing and sensing is really what I think it is. If it was not then all of life would just be a big mind game. When I see a cookie, it is not just a reflection of the ideal or eternal form of a cookie.


  19. I=If I had to choose between the two Greek philosophers, I would have to choose Aristotle. Aristotle makes more sense to me because I definitely agree with him on the concept that the environment, whether it be in a household or a forest, are crucial parts of raising and developing a human being. At the same time, people greatly are able to greatly influence their environment. Although Plato says we cannot trust our senses, how are you able to function in life? We are constantly touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling everything day-to-day. We operate and take actions in life based upon what we can sense. Is it through our experiences that we become who we are. What is the point of doing anything at all if you cannot trust your senses? It’s like wanting to be blind, deaf, and mute. I know our sense can fool us sometimes; however, there is nothing we can trust. I believe that senses and reason are inseparable. After I use my senses to take in any kind of information, I deduct reason and I try to bring forth wisdom to see the clarity of the situation. There are times when senses can fool, but sometimes it is our senses that are needed to solve a problem.

    John Cassetta
    2nd hour

  20. I agree mostly with Aristotle's views because we are blank slates at birth. And once we begin to learn even our first lessons....)Like cry to get attention) we didn't know we would get attention until we cried..its like Pavlov's classical conditioning. When the dog heard the bell he would salivate anticipating a treat. So when the child cries and only after they cry they learn a relationship between crying and receiving attention so the behavior is reinforced positively and they continue and they learn....But they didn't come out of the womb knowing that! I agree that we are blank slates and our environment shapes us (nurture). I like the fact that Aristotle trusts his senses which when used with common sense can ALMOST never deceive you...but sometimes they can. The way Aristotle said life should be lived was great! The pleasure of enjoyment, shows that knows having some form of joy,fun and/or entertainment is essential but then he also says be a free and responsible citizen which i took as if you act responsibly then you'll always be free and your freedom won't be restricted (laws). Lastly he says be a thinker and a philosopher to me this is saying think logically about everything and ask questions. Like if you have an opinion or question the way something is being done its okay to ask why and its okay to doubt...
    i agreed with pretty much everything until he said that women are incomplete men, and a man's features are the only ones seen in a child but if he was alive now...or even in the 60's I believe he would change his views. because women have become dangerously strong...we fight in wars, own companies, and raise children ! He would definitely change his mind...

  21. Although both Greek philosophers bring up strong arguments in their philosophies, I think that I can better relate to Aristotle’s reasoning. On of the key elements in his theory was his belief in our senses. He believed that we should trust and I agree with him. Senses are how we identify and interact with certain objects and things. Without or senses it would be hard to live in a society that is based on those things.
    Sure occasionally you think you’ve seen something that really didn’t happen or hear something that you think never happened. But it refers to the question “If a tree fell in the forest with no one around will it make a sound?” Since you assume it makes a sound, you’ll be convinced that the sound will be produced from the impact of the tree.
    I also believe in his logic about how we are blank slates. I believe this because of my belief in free will. I think that the fact that we have innate ideas in our brain or soul are playing into fate and destiny. Eventually we let our parents, religion and environment shape us into the person we become, instead of having things predetermined to tell us who we are.

    Collin Parson
    2nd hour

  22. I agree with Aristotle. He believed that we need to use both our reason and senses to interpret reality, also that the world we occupy is the real world. I remember Daniel saying, “It’s stupid because once you break down a delusional world, you REALLY have nothing. Then what was the point anyway?” I agree with this in the sense that if some how this isn’t the real world, what satisfaction will we get from taking our selves out of it and placing our selves into nothing.

    I believe we should trust our senses. If we do not trust them, how are we to fully take in and experience the beauty of the world around us? There are an infinite plethora of beautiful things in the world, albeit simple, intricate or complex, I just know I would hate to see such beautiful things in the world and have to face the idea that it might all just be a crock or my senses deceiving me. Our logic and reason also should be trusted. I’m not even sure how you can go about not trusting your thoughts. Isn’t it something we’re born to do? I don’t know, I feel like it takes a lot of thought and effort to not trust your senses. We need to learn how to balance our reason and our sensory perception because with them both at equilibrium we can truly make sense of the world around us. We have to use our logic to make sense of our senses and vise versa.

    - Again, I most likely wont be able to turn this in, but Powerschool said missing so I assumed that means I can make it up? If not, that’s coolio.


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