Plato and Idealism (Thoughtism), Idealism in PlatoJune 28, 2021
Plato explained his view of being with the theory of ideas.
According to this theory, there are two different worlds. These are the world of objects and the world of ideas. The world of objects is the world of objects that are in a constant state of being and changing and also disappearing. According to Plato, beings in the world of objects do not actually exist. They are only appearances.
They exist, change and disappear. In other words, the beings in the world we live in are finite and mortal. The world of ideas, on the other hand, is the world of eternal and eternal ideas. Ideas are essences from which beings in the outer world take a share. Ideas are beings that will not disappear just as they did not come into existence. They are beings outside of time and space.
According to Plato, the things that actually exist are ideas. The entities in the world of objects are the manifestations of the ideas. Ideas are eternal (permanent and continuous) entities. For example, while every beautiful thing (beautiful flower, painting, person, etc.) in the world of objects will disappear when the day comes, the idea of beauty will exist permanently and continuously.
Critique of Platonic Idealism and the State
Aristotle is critical of his teacher Plato’s dualist ontology, which radically separates material and ideal reality. The ideas that shape the visible world point to immanent, not transcendent, essences. This world is imperfect, relative, and contingent in terms of ideal forms. But this incomplete, relative and contingent existence is the expression field of ideal essences. The ontological, epistemological, ethical, aesthetic and political discrediting of empirical reality, that is, of the visible world, must be done within a certain fairness and measure, not with immodesty stemming from a radical dualism.
Every empirical fact in this world exists as an inner unity of a particular form and a singular matter. Thus, each particular and individual phenomenon tries to realize its ideal or formal (formal) essence. The ideal or formal essence that determines human beings and distinguishes them from other living things is the mental thinking ability. According to Aristotle, the function of politics as a human activity, and therefore of the state, is to serve people to live in a way that suits their essence, that is, on a rational basis, to realize their own potential.
Aristotle, like his teacher Plato, thinks that man can realize his own essence and potential only in a society and state. For Aristotle, man is a social and political animal. In Aristotle’s words, only animals and gods can exist outside of social and political organization. Undoubtedly, for Plato, man can try to create an ideal state in this visible world with his mental thinking ability. Such a project already forms the basis of Platonic politics.
Unlike Aristotle, in Plato’s political project, ideal and material reality, universal truth and particular-individual concerns, rational thinking and empirical content are sharply separated and isolated from each other. This sharp and uncompromising analytical attitude determines all of Plato’s philosophy as well as his understanding of politics. Aristotle creates his ethical and political discourse with a more moderate, measured and correct middle-minded approach than Plato.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook