Tag Archives: epiphenomenalism

A Priori and Plato’s Philosophy

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The terms a priori  used in philosophy (epistemology) to distinguish two types of knowledge, justification, or argument:

  • A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience (for example “All bachelors are unmarried”). Galen Strawson has stated that an a priori argument is one in which “you can see that it is true just lying on your couch. You don’t have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don’t have to do any science.”;[1]
Now, the interesting question is how do we know that A = A?  If they are exactly identical then they are the same, their is only one A.  So their must be a granting of equivalent value between A and A.  How do we arrive at that?  In science the definition of the word is equal to the word itself.
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Here is what i believe to be a correct reduction to Plato’s allegory of the cave.  The golden a represents the uncorrupted form of the celestial “A”  the quintessential A.  The one enslaved by ignorance can’t directly behold the celestial A, because as long as one is ignorant there is no freedom.  All he knows is the shadow of the letter A cast on the wall, the corrupt, perverted, distorted form, the shadow of its actual self, a pale distorted reflection.
Plato is also called the father of religion, as the Hindus he believed that their was a causal world in which all the uncorrupted forms existed.  And every form in this world is a copy of the original.  Aristotle believed that material existence is all that is real and our ideas are outcropping of our experiences here.  He didn’t believe that there was a world of Idea and man descended from it as did Plato.
“men die, but man is immortal.”  ~Plato
I am sure I butchered the quote and it is paraphrased, I couldn’t find the original online, but the idea he is conveying is that while the individual reflections cease to exist the idea continues and the idea, having a subtle existence lasts longer than the actual physical object.
“Philosophy will not die with Plato.”  ~Aristotle
Aristotle was arrogantly suggesting that he was the better philosopher than his teacher.  I feel that an aspect of philosophy did die with Plato as his disciples were afraid.  Aristotle, the father of science threw out anything that could not be proven in the realm of existence, refusing to entertain things that could be conceived of in the realm of thought.  To a certain extent it was an act of theft.
“Epiphenomenalism is the theory in philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are caused by physical processes in the brain or that both are effects of a common cause, as opposed to mental phenomena driving the physical mechanics of the brain. The impression that thoughts, feelings, or sensations cause physical effects, is therefore to be understood as illusory to some extent. For example, it is not the feeling of fear that produces an increase in heart beat, both are symptomatic of a common physiological origin, possibly in response to a legitimate external threat.[1]” ~wikipedia
We lost, in the losing of Plato’s perspective, the art of unlocking the genius behind each child.  He tolerated Aristotle for this reason:
“Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” 
― Plato
And what we lost in our educational system was this:
“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
― Plato
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