Aristotle and Plato are two Greek philosophers well known for their profound and great contributions to academic knowledge not only through their philosophical theories, but also through their great insights in sociology and economics. Considering that the work incorporated by the two still stands affirm, this paper will argue in favor of the notion that the work of the two still remain relevant in the contemporary times or rather the 21st century evident through the application of the same.
Plato is a classical scholar who name is regarded highly in the field of academics. He was born Greece around 423 BC and his ideologies; teachings have withstood the test of time of the years, and I find most of them relevant in modern day and age. Plato’s dialogues have been used to teach a wide range of subjects, which include philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric and mathematics. For the purpose of this essay, I will discuss his philosophical teachings and principles and their bearing in the modern day society. To front my response to the argument, I find Plato teachings and intellectual position very relevant to the 21 century because some of the things that he advocated or taught against still haunt the current generation. For instance, Plato’s view and discussion on the virtues of justice, courage, moderation of the individual and/or the society, wisdom, courage, what constitutes an ideal government, how should the government is formed, are just a few of the issues addressed by (Plato, Douglas, Chris, Plato, and Jordan 84). These same issues bedevil the modern day society and are integral in the modern day.
Plato also wrote extensively on the topic and subject of logic. Logic by simple and basic definition is reasoning conducted and assessed on the guiding and strict principles of validity. It argues that every under-taking that a person does must be guided by reason and it must be validly ratified as necessary and rational (Roock 759). This is a guiding behavior on virtues and rationale. According to Plato, before an individual undertakes to do something that same person must find a motivating reason and rational to qualify that action. For instance before a person does something extreme like committing suicide because of finances. That person must question within him or herself as to whether the intended action is necessary and rational. This principle of logic dissociates emotional thinking where a person does something merely because of passions and emotions of the time. For the modern day or 21-century as a society to re-establish the social fabrics and societal structure, logic is compulsory.
Basing on the above argument of state and government, during times of elections and voting. The electorate vote based on relations, in the notion of “supporting one of our own,” by colour, gender, region, race, creed, race etc. when people appeal to relational passions such as tribal marginalization, racial discrimination and other emotive topics. Reason and the gist of the matter are usually thrown out of the window and people in turn reason with emotions. This process is dangerous to the wellbeing of the society, because, during emotional reasoning; the reality and substance of the discussion are ignored. This perhaps explains why in the modern day there is slow development and progress because the thinkers who tackle the pressing issues and needs of the society such as corruption and development agenda of the society are not usually elected into office.
On the same topic of governance and leadership, Plato questions the ideals of democracy. He puts forth the question of which is better, to be ruled by a tyrant and or an undemocratically elected leader. Plato settles for the latter. When democracy fails, and the will of the majority of the people who vote is subverted, the population is usually left hurt and fractured. Therefore, Plato says that it is better for people to be ruled by a tyrant because it is easier for people to accept their fate and the reality of the time when they out rightly know that the form of leadership at the helm is tyrannical (Plato vol 45). Rather than purport to offer ‘will of the people by the people and for the people’ only for them to hijack and subvert the whole process. The 21-century is a testament to rigged elections and subsequent civilian resistance and bloodshed especially in emerging democracies. It has become common news when post-election violence hits the news, when people who feel cheated by the electoral process take arms and consequently there is bloodshed. However, in a tyrannical society, people live in harmony and peace knowing the limits of the power that be, and there is no subversion of their will. In this case, it is the structure of the society that might need to be corrected.
Aristotle was born in Greece in 384 BC, who is today well known for his development in philosophy science. He took after his father who was a physician. He studies botany and zoology in Island of Lebos, which made him be the next tutor of Alexander the great. His works are well known today, especially in the fields of biology, physics, ethics, poetics, philosophy, politics and rhetorics. Actually, he transformed every field of knowledge he touched on, which is the main pivot point for today’s field in philosophy (Allan, 220). His efforts in philosophy are what is used today, thus, he had a great impact in developing modern knowledge even in the 21st century.
Aristotle is best known in the fields of reasoning, which he developed a proper system of understanding the reasoning process. He focused on reasoning as a way of determining the structural content of an argument rather than the content of it. With this, it held that as long as an argument has a quality structure, then, its contents can always be true. This knowledge added to the rise of modern knowledge, propositional knowledge, which is applied in the many reasoning fields today.
Being a scientist, Aristotle backed up his reasoning with scientific knowledge that aid in forming the back bone of his works. For example, in his political and ethics works, Aristotle identified the highest intellectual value, and insisted that any person working within the virtues that are considered moral and are cultivated of the intended virtues. This is what is referred to as ethics today (Broadie, 1991), which is upheld by any institution and as long as a person works under the moral virtues set, then, he/she can be said to maintain the ethical standard of the institution. Aristotle further distinguished perception from reasoning, which he further debated that sense perception was the mother of reasoning, in turn, generate knowledge pertaining a given thought. Today, this is used in studying the thoughts of an individual, in psychology and biology in understanding the works of the mind.
In the field of politics, Aristotle reasoned that a natural community city is what led to politics, which the aims did not focus only on making the community live with justice and proper security, but also, a part of the community or some other citizens falling under the possibility of having a good life. Today, this is seen in many nations, which uphold democracy and politicians aiming at making people’s life better than what it was initially.
His knowledge development in the rhetoric field has become the pivot element of philosophy today, among two other elements. Rhetoric, according to Aristotle, implied that, in the field of logic and dialectic, it was important that it created persuasive elements its basis being knowledge, rather than basing one's reasoning/knowledge on emotions. This is what the field of psychology uses today, aside from the philosophy field too. This is what the law base its arguments on today, including the other two pivot elements.
His development of knowledge in the field of poetry focused on literary theory. With this, it developed the ancient Greek poetry which included; drama, play, comedy and tragedy among others. With this, he developed this line of workings, in that, poetry today is used as a way of passing a message using a given tone, serves a role in establishing unity and togetherness. Poetry, in it, carries the sense that is easily understood in few organized words.
Evidently, Aristotle is relevant in the 21st century. He was an Ancient Greek philosopher who made contributions to the field of biology, metaphysics, mathematics biology, physics, ethics, agriculture, theatre, botany and dance.
Because of his empirical-mindedness, and his prolific writing, he touched most areas of knowledge mentioned above. He is famously known for rejecting the theory of Forms by Plato. The theory of forms by Plato, which states that properties are universal entities which exist independent of the objects; such properties are like beauty. He argued that forms are intrinsic part of the objects and cannot exist apart from them, hence should be studied together. These theories are still relevant in studying different forms and in formulating different philosophies related to different forms.
Similarly, Aristotle is very relevant in the 21st century because of his contributions to science. He defines the different branches of science, which are relevant and helpful in defining and learning science today. His works were intuitive and organized according to his preference (Anton and Anthony 56). He referred to different branches in sciences as episteme. This can be best referred to as ongoing records of empirical researches rather than organized bodies completed for presentation. Similarly, in his terminology, in some sciences like physics (theoretical science), it comprised of both non- empirical and empirical pursuits. He distinguishes practical oriented studies from science. Some of these theoretical studies focus on human crafts and others are concerned about human conduct. Therefore, Aristotelian sciences can be divided into three, productive, theoretical and practical. The principles of division are straightforward. According to him political science concerns goodness in action and conduct; both individual and societal. He also asserts that theoretical science seeks knowledge for its sake. On the other hand productive science aims at creation of useful or beautiful objects.
Additionally, According to Aristotle, theoretical science includes metaphysics, physics, natural philosophy or mathematics (Farabi and Muhsin 50). He concentrated on different puzzles pertaining to nature and not majored on empirical research. Most of his primary concern puzzles have proven attractive to natural scientists, philosophers and mathematicians. He further tries to explore the theory of unmoved mover to the first and final cause of movement, thus the theory of causal explanation.
Similarly, Aristotle also makes contributions to psychology where he regards the soul the basic principle of life including plant and animal life. However, the conclusion for this evidence is scarce. He treats psychology as a sub- branch of philosophy. In the renaissance period, his division for sciences ignited multi- decade debate. According to him, philosophy naturally incorporate special sciences like botany, astronomical theory and biology. He further explores the nature of sciences. In his view practical sciences deal with conduct for individual and the society. A practical science contrasts with this because the knowledge seeking involved is for its own sake. This branch consists of ethics and politics. Productive sciences are crafts aimed at artifacts or broad construing of human productions.
Also, Aristotle created classification of animals, where he named the today’s vertebrates and invertebrates, egg- bearing and life bearing. He researched in the field of biology majorly in the natural environment in Lesbos Island, making observations in the surrounding areas. Similarly, he came up with the concept of metaphysics, which means behind physics. He creates this concepts and explains it, it was used mush later after his death.
Ethics is another principle that Plato addressed categorically. Ethics by definition implies the moral principles that govern the behaviors of a person. Ethics is the cornerstones of morality. During this century when social vices and social excesses are the order of the day, the population and the society at large, should rethink about the topic of ethics. A practical example is the number of youths and teenagers involved with drug and substance abuse and unplanned pregnancies. A society that has weak ethics invests heavily in trying to treat the effects of the vices. For instance, when the society is laden with young drug addicts which is usually the working or productive portion of the workforce. Thus, the whole society bears the brunt of a reduced workforce hence reduced output. Apparently, Aristotle’s work is apparently still utilized in the contemporary times, this is seen in philosophy politics, economics and sociology, it is, therefore, important to acknowledge the fact that the works of the two figures remain relevant in the contemporary times.
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