The best account of life and work of one of the most influential philosophers of all times is given by the later classical writers, in the first place by his students Plato and Xenophon and the playwright Aristophanes who was his contemporary. Despite that, the mentioned writers reveal that the ancient Greek philosopher made important contributions to philosophy as well as epistemology and logic. He is the inventor of the so-called Socratic method or elenchus which remains one of the most commonly used approaches not only to answer the fundamental questions of philosophy but it also serves as a tool for scientific research. He did not write any philosophical works or left any writings.
Introduction[ edit ] What is knowledge? How do they interact? Is there a correlational, causal, or reciprocal relationship between knowledge and experience? These and other related questions have been at the forefront of investigation by problem solvers, scientists, psychologists, and philosophers for centuries.
These questions, but particularly the problem of how experience and knowledge interrelate, have broad theoretical and practical implications for such academic disciplines as epistemologylinguistics, and psychology specifically the subdiscipline of thinking and problem solving.
Gaining a more precise understanding of human knowledge, whether defined as innate, experientialor both, is an important part of effective problem solving. Plato was the first philosopher who systematically inquired into issues such as those noted above.
He wrote many dialogues, such as Euthyphro and the Apologybut it is Plato s contributions to psychology the Meno that the modern instantiation of Plato's Problem is derived.
In the Meno, Plato theorizes about the relationship between knowledge and experience and provides an explanation for how it is possible to know something that one has never been explicitly taught. Plato believed that we possess innate ideas that precede any knowledge that we gain through experience.
As formulated by Noam Chomsky,  accounting for this gap between knowledge and experience is "Plato's Problem". The phrase has a specific linguistic context with regard to language acquisition but can also be used more generally.
These early dialogues do not utilize conventional notions of reason. Rather, they appeal to the emotions, the allegoricalthe spiritualand the mythological interests of an ancient speculative mind.
Controversy surrounds the early dialogues in how they are to be interpreted. Some claim that Plato was truly trying to discover objective reality through these mystical speculations while others maintain that the dialogues are stories to be interpreted only as parables, allegories, and emotional appeals to religious experience.
Regardless, Plato would come to formulate a more rigorous and comprehensive philosophy later in his life, one that reverberates in contemporary Western thought to this day. Some of Plato's famous works are Phaedothe Critoand, as noted earlier, the Meno. Within these works are found a comprehensive philosophy that addresses epistemology, metaphysicsethicsaestheticstheologyand logic.
As noted, most of the writing is in the form of dialogues and arguments to pursue answers to difficult questions and concepts. Plato's teacher and mentor, Socrates, always plays a significant and formative role in these dialogues. Though there are no extant writings of Socrates known, it is evident through Plato's works that Socrates had an incredible ability to explore the most intense analytical discussions.
However, for some there is controversy regarding how much historical fact can be derived from Plato's Socrates Russell. Some doubt Socrates ever existed. Others are skeptical as to the accuracy of some of Plato's dialogues but nonetheless maintain that we can learn a substantial amount of historical information about Socrates from the dialogues.
Still others take practically everything Plato wrote about Socrates as veridical history. Regardless, it may be safe to say that Plato never meant to record Socrates verbatim and it may plausibly be concluded that his general ideas were communicated in the dialogues.
Socratic method[ edit ] As delineated in various writings, the meticulousness, articulation, and sophistication with which Socrates spoke supplies an outstanding problem solving technique — the Socratic Method. The Socratic method may be described as follows: If someone disagreed with him, Socrates would execute this process in order to bring about his interlocutor's reluctant admission of inconsistencies and contradictions.
Either Socrates would ask his debators questions about their claims that would lead them to admit their fallacy or Socrates would answer questions by posing questions meant to lead the other to answer their own query. The participants were Socrates, Meno, Anytus, and one of Meno's slave boys.
The dialogue begins with Meno asking Socrates whether virtue can be taught. Socrates responds by stating that he does not know the definition of virtue. Meno replies by stating the characteristics of a virtuous man, to which Socrates responds that the characteristics of a virtuous man may be the by-products of virtuousness but they by no means define virtue.
Meno is obliged to agree; to wit, he tries to modify his explanation of virtue. Socrates counters each attempt by pointing to inconsistencies and circular arguments.
Meno seems to commit two fallacies when trying to define virtue. He either defines it using some form of the word itself, or he defines it using other words that call for definitions and explanations themselves. Eventually, Meno is led to confess his shortcomings as he tries to define the enigmatic term the Socratic method is the mechanism that brings about this confession.
Socrates claims that a definition of virtue must consist of common terms and concepts that are clearly understood by those in the discussion. A crucial point in the dialogue is when Socrates tells Meno that there is no such thing as teaching, only recollection of knowledge from past lives, or anamnesis.
Socrates claims that he can demonstrate this by showing that one of Meno's servants, a slave boy, knows geometric principles though he is uneducated. Socrates states that he will teach the boy nothing, only ask him questions to assist the process of recollection. Socrates proceeds to ask the slave boy a series of questions about the size and length of lines and squares, using visual diagrams to aid the boy in understanding the questions.Plato's Psychology originally published in and reprinted in , is still the definitive modern discussion of the nature and development of Plato's concept of psyche.
In a lengthy and detailed new introduction T.M. Robinson surveys the scope and value of a number of contributions to Plato's theory of psyche, individual and cosmic, that.
Plato's contribution--a contribution which, I believe, sets him apart from the sophists-vis the demand expressed in the Phaedrus that the rhetorician must look to soul as the basis of his study, and not just to the outward person.
Murray, "Disputation, Deception, and Dialectic: Plato on the True Rhetoric (Phaedrus, )," Philosophy. Plato's writings never disappeared from the curriculum altogether (in a famous remark Petrarch  suggests that "More men praise Aristotle; the better ones, Plato").
Socrates’ student Plato is traditionally considered the best source about the philosopher’s life and work although many scholars emphasise that it is very difficult to distinguish between Plato’s and Socrates’ philosophical views and even more difficult to create an accurate account of Socrates’ life.
One of Aristotle's most important contributions was defining and classifying the various branches of knowledge. He sorted them into physics, metaphysics, psychology, rhetoric, poetics, and logic, and thus laid the foundation of most of the sciences of today.
Plato's contributions to the theories of education are shown by the way that he ran the Academy and his idea of what constitutes an educated person. Over the door of the Academy was written: "Let.