A Conversation for Challenge h2g2
Babblefish6 Started conversation Feb 11, 2004
Wow I wonder if anyone will ever read this, just a bit of background is needed huh? okay, well Im Sophist. I love philosophy and can't wait to talk to some other people who do too. I'm not very schooled in philosophy but have been really into it ever since my brother, who is majoring in Philosophy, gave me this book called Sophie's World. Right now I have read from the pre-socratics to about Aristotle and happen to be stuck on the Idea of Plato.
According to Plato there is this world before life and it is the world of ideas and forms kind of. Anyway he says that before both the chiken and the egg came the "idea chicken", the form that tells all the chickens how to look, act, and think. The reason how we know this is because our soul lies in this world before and after death.
I don't really understand this so if anyone would like to tell me, feel free!
Post Team Posted Feb 11, 2004
Hello there Babblefish6
There are quite a few Guide entries on philosophy including:
A471214 The Republic
A471467 Ancient Greek Slavery and its Relationship to Democracy
A805952 Demokratia - the Athenian Democracy
and, if you click on the 'advanced search' button and type in philosophy you will find plenty more. I am sure that if you post to one of these pages you will get a reply.
Alternatively, you can drop by the A837353 h2g2 Philosopher's Guild and wave frantically to attract their attention!
Pimms Posted Feb 11, 2004
As I understand it (always a good thing to say when discussing philosophy) Plato was trying to answer the question 'what is the aspect of something that determines what it is?'
He took the route that there *is* some underlying idea from which the thing takes its form.
However this approach to explaining the world around us does not have great appeal nowadays. I prefer to think that it makes more sense to place the 'idea' of something as a result of the observer's processing of the information available. That is, instead of the idea of 'chairness' being something separate and beyond seeing an actual chair being observed, the idea of chairness is created in each observer's mind through experience and the automatic rationalising function that is hardwired in.
Possibly a problem with my approach is the consideration of what is there if there is no observer to interpret it. Surely a chair is a chair even if there is no-one in the room to look at it. I forget whether Berkeley is covered later in Sophie's World...
Babblefish6 Posted Feb 12, 2004
How nice of you to reply to my post. As I see it, your theories make sense, a chair in a room with no one to see it would still be a chair. However it is only a chair to an observer, or to someone who has already had the idea of what a chair is, or should be, pounded into their brain. However the chair has the potential to be anything.
Was it Plato or Aristotle who discussed the potential of a substance? Regardless, as one of them said, the egg of a chicken has the potenial to become a chicken should it be hatched and raised. However, as in most cases, the egg reaches a different potetial, namely breakfast.
Perhaps what I am trying to say is that no matter how much we believe that said chair is indeed a chair, it has the potetial to become many things. Therefore nothing is constant and everything can be morphed into something else. The chair can be ground up, mixed with fertilizer and made into mulch. Plants can growfrom the mulch, abrorb some of the chair-wood nutrients and become food for humans. Should that happen one could certainly say that the chair is part of the human. Once again proving that all things can morph into eachother in some way shape or form.
The question I have is why, why should all things be able to be broken down and transformed into something else?
Pimms Posted Feb 13, 2004
Though I don't think it is meaningful to say the chair is part of the person. Once a chair has been transformed to sawdust, that sawdust is no longer a chair. Being a chair was an emergent property of the pieces used to make it, that anyone familiar with the properties of chairs could recognise.
Above a certain level (atoms and above) all things can be formed from other things. The atoms (generally) can be considered unchanging particles with specific properties, and none of the atoms can pointed to and said this is 'frog' or 'chair'. It may be that an atom *is* (temporarily) part of a frog or chair, but the property of being a frog is not inherent in the atom.
What a thing *is* is an emergent property, not something inherent in the thing, that can be determined by an observer.
Pimms Posted Feb 13, 2004
Incidentally if you wish to continue this converstaion it shouldn't really be done in this forum (Challenge H2G2) which is really for suggestions for subjects missing from the Edited Guide. There are many community conversation forums. A recent one is the Circle A2253331, and you could start a thread in one of the 'rooms' there (or post a message on anyone's personal space if you think they might be keen to chat)
Babblefish6 Posted Feb 14, 2004
Challenge: Plato anyone?
SashaQ - happysad Posted Feb 13, 2021
I tackled Plato - a subject worthy of a h2g2 University Project A87808008
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