Knowledge is power

That common saying may contain some truth though it can be qualified by use of philosophy-the origin of reasoning. Philosophy is linked to origin of many subjects taught today because of its reflection nature which leads to viable conclusions and principles. For example Plato used a step by step reflection process to explain the difference between appearance and reality, while Aristotle described the source of knowledge from the natural intuition and interaction with physical things. This essay therefore, will discuss in depth analysis of allegory of cave (Plato), analysis of divided rule and relevant passages from Aristotle on sole as they relate to acquiring knowledge.

Platos allegory of the cave
In the allegory, people are likened to prisoners chained in a cave, with inability to move their heads. Plato says that they can only see burns from fire and the caves wall and not the original objects that move behind them. Therefore their knowledge is only limited to the belief developed by seeing shadows and the echo behind them.

People more often than not use the term knowledge in different ways, without defining what they exactly mean. Knowledge in philosophy refers to beliefs that are true, justified and actionable. Therefore using Platos allegory of the caves, prisoners represent the people trapped inside the matrix, with ignorance on the truth and are satisfied with life of illusions around them. As a result they lack true knowledge.

Through Platos point of argument there is a difference between appearance and reality. The prisoners would think that shadows seen on the wall were real and nothing on causes of the shadows, they would know. When the prisoners were released to the sun they could look at the sun and discover they were wrong. Indeed, people may get concepts by experiencing (perceptual) physical objects but it would be wrong if they likened the concepts grasped with the things perceived.

There is a difference between what we feel and what we think. This is what determines if the information we have is true and viable or not. Plato suggests two different forms of vision that exist, the bodily eye (senses) and the minds eye that is a high level of thinking. Until people are released to freedom that is (ignorance) and use the mind eye, they will continue having wrong information since perception can not be relied upon because the world is full of distorted massages.

In Platos Allegory of the Cave, he explains that people cannot gain knowledge and enlightenment until they come out of the ignorance that they were born into. In a metaphorical sense, Plato refers to ignorance as the dark prison cave, people as the prisoners, and Knowledge as the Sun, which gives light to the world for all to see.

The divided line
 Knowledge is acquired through some hierarchical steps.  A mans journey through education is mapped by a metaphorical line used by Plato. To gain knowledge, there are four stages (Plato, 501). Using divide line argument by Plato, a line is drawn and is initially divided to two-visible section and the intelligible section. The visible section presents two kinds of images, one section has shadows of images and the second one has real images. On the intelligible section the soul firstly, investigates using hypothesis and makes to a conclusion and secondly it comes up with a principle based on investigation using real images (Plato, 501)

In process of learning, there are such conditions that correspond to the lines four sub-sections. They include imaging, belief, thought and finally understanding. Therefore to learn, a person starts by having vague idea and which when real pictures are presented, a person develops a belief. At the second highest stage the person engages the mind through reasoning hence coming up with conclusions. Finally the person is able to achieve a great understanding just as coming up with a principle as explained on the divided line. This is the origin of great knowledge.

Aristotles on the Soul
All knowledge comes from our interaction and perception (Aristotle, 89). In reference to Aristotle on the soul, Knowledge pre-exists in our world through physical and concrete thing and it can be acquired by humans through interaction with the existing things in the physical world such as a particular tree, a particular animal and many more. This means that perception of the physical senses on the physical elements of our reality leads to learning. Therefore our ability to discern from our surrounding (sense perception) and everything in it represented by particular and tangible things, which lead to mathematical and scientific understanding of our existence. Aristotle believes that we remember what we perceive hence creating memory and from accumulated memory of something in particular a great understanding is achieved.

In conclusion from the above discussion, Plato strongly believe that there is a difference between perception and reality and we can only gain knowledge when we come out of our ignorance (perception) and see the reality by seeing the real things. On the other hand, Aristotle argues that we learn through perception of physical things existing around. However in the contemporary society, it is of great importance to integrate both arguments in order to achieve a great understanding and hence maximize on knowledge acquisition.


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