Western Civilization 1, Week 4 Writing Assignment.

1. What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?  The Sophists were a group of Greek teachers who believed there was no absolute truth.  They believed that truth is relative.  They mainly taught rhetoric, however, while the Sophists taught people to be persuasive through use of rhetoric, they did not place significance in the idea they were trying to persuade.  The famous philosopher, Socrates disagreed with what the Sophists were doing.  They believed that there was no absolute good, and no absolute bad, that each individual must determine good or bad for him or her self.  Socrates was in search of the absolute truth; e.g. what is justice? They did not look for the truth, because they had no absolute truth, Socrates disagreed with this.

2. What was Plato’s point in his allegory of the cave?  Plato wrote his philosophy in the form of dialogues, almost like plays.  One of the most famous of these, was his allegory of the cave.  He paints a mental image of men who are blind to reality, who only see the lower materialistic world.

Plato believed there was a higher world and a lower world.  The lower world is that of objects; the world we live in and perceive.  The higher world is that of the forms that are the models and guidelines of the material objects we see.  The forms are not something we can perceive.  For instance, there are many different kinds of cups, but they are all based on one idea we have of what a cup should be.  In his allegory of the cave, he demonstrates that men are ignorant to the higher world of the forms, and that they are satisfied with the past present and future of the material world.  He believed that the highest form of contemplation was to contemplate the unchanging.  The group of men in the cave that he created a mental image of, refused to challenge this thought, and let themselves settle with what changed.

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