Plato vs. Aristotle: Philosophy, Society, and Human Nature

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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Was a disciple of Socrates whose cornerstone of thought was his theory of Forms, in which there was another world of perfection. Uses thought to advance the Socratic dialogue. Dualistic Vision


Greek philosopher. A student of Plato, the tutor of Alexander the Great, and the author of works on logic, metaphysics, ethics, natural sciences, politics, and poetics, theory follows empirical observation and logic, based on the syllogism, is the essential method of rational inquiry. Pluralistic Vision


Greek philosopher; Socratic method--questioning; sentenced to death for corrupting Athens youth

Alexander the Great

Student of Aristotle, King of Macedonia who conquered Greece, Egypt, and Persia


school of philosophy founded by Plato


Aristotle's school of philosophy


a paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece

Greek Democracy

direct democracy, citizens participate in government, three branches of government

Allegory of the Cave

Plato's description of individuals who live their lives in accordance with the shadows of reality provided by sensory experience instead of in accordance with the true reality beyond sensory experience.

Theory of the Forms

Plato's contention that ultimate reality consists of abstract ideas or forms that correspond to all objects in the empirical world. Knowledge of these abstractions is innate and can be attained only through introspection.

Plato's Theory of Human Nature as explained by the Myth of Gyges

The ring makes you invisible, so will you be a piece of shit or not? Do humans naturally tend to justice or injustice. Plato thinks people will act with Self Interest.

Vision to Society = Caste System Appetite

Working Class. Part of the 3 part soul, desire for material items

Vision to Society = Caste System Spirit

Police, Military, Legal. Part of the 3 part soul, adherence to society

Vision to Society = Caste System Reason

Philosopher Kings, Educators and teachers. Highest class, Part of the 3 part soul, lust for truth, will to learn

Working Class

A social class broadly composed of people working in blue-collar, or manual, occupations.


Country with its own government but under the control of an outside power. Rome controlling Greece, Athens, etc.

Guardians or Philosopher Kings

Plato divides his just society into three classes: the producers, the auxiliaries, and the guardians. The guardians are responsible for ruling the city. They are chosen from among the ranks of the auxiliaries, and are also known as philosopher-kings.






Distinction between form + matter = Use or Purpose


Necessary aspect vs. Happens to have but could lack

4 Causes

formal, material, essential, final


ethical theory concerned with outcome, whether an action produces greater good in the world. Goal Oriented

Prime Mover

Everything is moving towards singularity, ending. Aristotle thought

Happiness (as function of the soul and human spirit)

Need Justice, Wisdom, Courage, moderation. Virtuous and Moral, be a good person to gain_______


A habitual and firm disposition to do good


excellence of any kind, virtues/skills needed to attain happens.

moral habit- deficiency, mean, excess

Aristotle maps out human characteristics, they come in groups of three with a too little, too much, and a just right..


A form of reasoning consisting of a premise followed by 2 supporting details, and a conclusion.

Discuss how the Theory of the Forms helps to explain Plato's tiered formulation of Society as well as his understanding of human nature.

The forms explain the tiered society Plato identifies because of the two realms he believes in. The forms are a place of absolute perfection and understanding, being born leaves you without this on the Earth. So, tiers exist in society because people are made different, and peruse different things in life as see in human nature. People naturally tend to injustice, but following the correct ideals and being a logical philosopher make you the highest class in society. Three parts of the soul; Appetite, reason, spirit. Which part of the soul drives you? (Your human nature)

How Do Plato and Aristotle Differ in their understanding of Society, Human Nature and Knowledge?

Plato = Dualistic(Person and soul are distinct), all about the forms. Tiers in society. 3 parts of the soul. Humans naturally tend towards injustice. Some people are just stupid because they do not lean towards reason.

Aristotle = Pluralistic(Whole thing), more logic based, use senses, so many things we need to understand/explore in the world around us. Political systems in society. Humans should be

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