Monday, 10 November 2014

Influence of Plato and Aristotle

Hi, I'm Sophie. I'm the second blogger after Shane who has already posted an extremely useful and interesting piece. Anyway, in Neil's lectures we seem to moving on from Ancient Greek philosophy and I thought it might be helpful to consider both Aristotle and Plato's influence on later philosophy. I know we have discussed many philosophers so far but for practicality I have narrowed in down to these two (I have left out Socrates on purpose because he really does my nut in).

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Aristotle's influence on later philosophy is 'difficult to overestimate'. His legacy is clearly apparent in the works of many philosophers, including Thomas Aquinas who later revives many Aristotelian themes and cements Aristotle's philosophy into the principles of Christianity. His publications cover many topics including physics, metaphysics, politics and aesthetics to name a few and he has also had an effect on the field of ethics where the ethical theory of Virtue Ethics was developed using his ideas on morality.

Plato on the other hand, has also contributed a considerable amount to later ideas. A.N Whitehead described Western Philosophy as 'a series of footnotes to Plato'. Plato's Theory of the Forms and his distinction between entities and abstract concepts has appeared in many of his works and he purposefully leaves questions unanswered in texts such as Euthyphro, which have created many interesting debates for later philosophers. Plato's dialogues have portrayed Socrates and his ideas including the 'Socratic Method' and have opened an otherwise impossible understanding of Socrates who did not write many of his own ideas down.

So, who do you think has been more influential to later thought? It would be nice to get a discussion going..