Ideas Of Descartes, Plato, And Hume Essay, Research Paper
The immediate starting-point of Plato’s philosophical speculation was the Socratic teaching. In his attempt to define the conditions of knowledge so as to refute sophistic skepticism, Socrates had taught that the only true knowledge is a knowledge by means of
concepts. The concept, he said, represents all the reality of a thing. As used by Socrates, this was merely a principle of knowledge. Plato took it up as a principle of Being. ?If the concept represents all the reality of things, the reality must be something
in the ideal order, not necessarily in the things themselves, but rather above them, in a world by itself? (Chaput, C. p.2). For the concept,therefore, Plato substitutes the Idea. He completes the work of Socrates by teaching that the objectively real Ideas are the foundation and justification of scientific knowledge. At the same time he has in mind a problem which claimed much attention from pre-Socratic thinkers, the problem of change. The Platonic theory of Ideas is an attempt to solve this crucial question by a metaphysical compromise. The Eleatics, Plato said, are right in maintaining that reality does not change; for the ideas are immutable. Still, there is, as contended, change in the world of our experience, or, as Plato terms it, the world of phenomena. Plato, then, supposes a world of Ideas apart from the world of our experience, and immeasurably superior to it. He imagines that all human souls dwelt at one time in that higher world. When, therefore, we behold in the shadow-world around us a phenomenon or appearance of anything, the mind is moved to a remembrance of the Idea (of that same phenomenal thing) which it formerly contemplated. In its delight it wonders at the contrast, and by wonder is led to recall as perfectly as possible the intuition it enjoyed in a previous existence. This is the task of philosophy. ?Philosophy, therefore, consists in the effort to rise from the knowledge of phenomena, or appearances, to the noumena, or realities? (Chaput, C. p. 4).
Hume?s beliefs of philosophical ideas was that there is a considerable difference between the perception of the mind, when man feels the pain of excessive heat, or the pleasure of moderate warmth, but then anticipates that this is caused by his imagination. These ideas may seem to be the same as a person?s sense, but they can never reach the origin of thought. Hume strongly believes that when these senses fall upon us, we could say that we almost feel or see it. According to Hume, when we reflect our past sentiments and affections, our thought is a faithful mirror, and copies its objects truly. He now feels that we may divide all the perceptions of the mind into two classes or species, which are distinguished by their different degree of force. The less forcible and lively are commonly noted as Thoughts or Ideas. The other species want a name in the language, and others not to have any specific purpose in philosophy. ?Therefore we can use a little freedom, and call them Impressions; employing that word in a sense somewhat different from the usual? (Hume, 316). Impressions are distinguished from Ideas, which are less lively perceptions, when we reflect on any of those sensations or movements above mentioned. At first sight, nothing may seem more weird than the thought of man because the imagination of man can act in strange ways. It could form monsters and weird
appearances that could ponder our minds into different regions of the universe. ?What never was seen, or heard of, may yet be conceived; nor is any thing beyond the power of the imagination? (Chaput, C. p. 8).
Descartes? philosophical ideas were formed to believe is the sole aim meaning and the purpose of living. ?His theory in a nutshell is ?cogito ergo sum?, I think, therefore I am.? Descartes was mainly concerned with the issue of personal identity and
then decided to use external objects to provide evidence to his investigation. To prove the Idea of I think, therefore I am, Descartes used an apple. He called this experiment the Wax Example. The apple was used to compare the question of ?who am I? which is the personal identity. Descartes strongly believed that our personal identity is more clear and fundamental than perception of external objects. This means that since we can think and have our senses, it is easier to believe that we did have a personal identity. Since the apple can not ask itself ?am I alive?, therefore the apple could not have the identity. Descartes using two pieces of wax argued this case. The one piece of wax was used while it was in solid state and the other after the wax had been melted by fire. Descartes argues that our senses alone cannot inform us of the continuity of the two states of the
wax since none of the qualities of the wax remain the same. The wax example could also
not be determined by an imagination of what the wax could else have done. Meaning
that the one wax could not do what the other did after it had been melted. Descartes
believes that sight, touch, imagination does not establish the continuity of the wax, but it
is established by the (intellect) imagination of man himself. The human mind can play a
trick upon itself, but all in the end the mind is having an imagination that does not really
exist. The other Idea Descartes describes is people who walk bye everyday.
?When I look out the window, I conclude that I see people crossing the road. All that
appears to my senses, though, is clothing? (Descartes, 247). This statement does not
mean that he does not see the people themselves, but he does see the clothing and hats
that cover the parts of their bodies. This statement argues that the people have two
different things, the mind and the body. The clothing covers the body, which is the
extended thing, and the mind, the thinking thing suggests that all you see is the clothing
over the people. This argument does show that the appearance is a person, but the mind
of Descartes proves to show that his imagination just makes him see the clothes and hats
on the people. Even if Descartes is wrong and we understand the wax through our senses
and imagination, he still believes that the mind mentally has a great imagination. The
final argument Descartes can end on is if the wax exists through sight or imagination, this
presupposes that he himself does exist.
In conclusion all of these men have great thinking strategies. I feel that Descartes
did describe and firmly state evidence that supports his reasoning for ?I think, therefore I
am.? He decided to use evidence of things in our society today to better help provide
evidence for his Ideas. Such as in class discussions we stated answers to both sides of the
spectrum. Even though Descartes statement had a little less impact on the class, I firmly
agreed with his points of view. All three Hume, Descartes, and Plato had relatively the
same mind, but all took up different perceptions of the ideas.