Most people only have opinions even if they think they have knowledge. Opinions are thoughts are ideas fed to us by other people. These range from our spiritual beliefs to thoughts on everyday things, things most people never truly think about themselves. We must think outside what we have been told, look beyond the world that other people have created for us and access the world of concept and ides. Only once we have looked at many different concepts and ideas and have reasoned with them all do we actually have knowledge.
How do you know that giving one child a reward while his or her twin gets nothing for the same achievement is unfair?
Man has developed the ability to sympathise and empathise with each other. This ability plays a big part in us deciding what is right or wrong, fair of unfair. We are able to draw from our own experiences and compare how we felt to how a situation could make somebody else feel.
Most people have experienced being treated differently to someone who is relatively the same as you i.e. a sibling being paid more attention or a classmate getting more reward for completing a task to the same standard. We can remember the feelings of sadness, rejection and anger that we felt and understand how people feel when this happens. Because of this we have developed morals and even laws based on the idea that people should be treated equally to try and avoid people feeling this as man also has the instinct to try and make life better. We know that giving one twin and not the other a reward for doing the same task as are not only taught that people should be treated equally we can imagine or (if we are a twin) remember what it would be like to be treated in such a way.
Why do you think that it is hard to imaging anyone being satisfied with an existence that just kept them alive?
An animal’s soul existence is based on surviving themselves and ensuring that the species survives after them. The human race, however, have always prided themselves on the one thing that separates us from all other animals, the thing which has led to us being the rulers of the planet at the very top of the food chain; the ability to think and question why?
Almost the minuet we can speak we question everything, persistently asking our parents why how and what if? We go to school to have the knowledge that people have gained by questioning passed down to us and some of the brightest students will go on to ask questions that have never been asked before, consequently discovering new knowledge that they then pass on to others and will be taught in schools and will inspire others to ask even more questions that have never been asked before and they will discover yet more new things and so and so on.
This is how the human race has developed right from the start. Our thirst for knowledge is instilled in us, a child is not taught to question everything it sees it does it instinctively. It means that the human race do not simply exist they live. They feel happy and sad because they have questioned what feelings are and many even believe they know the reason for living (religion).
We are constantly developing and thinking of ways to improve life. We know that ten years from now we will be able to explore even more of the cosmos, will be able to cure even more illness, will have the answers to now unanswerable questions because we know that humans will always be asking questions and trying to answer them. To simply exist would mean not to think or feel. It is almost impossible for people to be satisfied with just existence because the need to question and strive for a better happier life is embed deep within us, it is has and always will separate humans from all other life, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
What are your reactions to Plato’s theory of forms?
Our inbuilt thirst for knowledge is ultimately there because we are constantly striving to have the perfect life where there is a perfect good, justice, truth, beauty love ect. We commonly use the phrase in a perfect world but where do our ides of a perfect world come from? If it is impossible to get a perfect circle and their fore have never seen one how do we know that it exists?
Plato’s theory is certainly very interesting. Though it is only a theory, there can be no proof and it has some serious floors, such as Plato does not say where these forms are, it as good a answer as any to this question! What made Plato and other philosophers such as Socrates so extraordinary is that he was able to think truly outside ‘the box’. He thought about everything we believe we know and question how we came to believe them. He did not just accept what he was taught but thought deeply abut everything for himself and tried to answer these questions. In doing this he still continues to teach others to do the same.
Does religion rely on intelligence? Is a rationally worked out faith stronger one that is purely based on spiritual ‘instinct’?
Billions of people in this world have religion. Obviously not all of these people are intelligent. Small children who can barely spell their own name have religion and love some form of God. Religion does not rely on intelligence though it is the consequence of extremely intelligent people who had the ability to really examine everything about life and come up with all the different concepts of all the different religions.
The most unintelligent person in the world can still have an extremely strong faith. They can have nothing but this strong spiritual ‘instinct’, an innate feeling that God loves them and they love God. If you asked them why they said this they would have no idea and would not be able to explain it in any way.
The most intelligent person in the world could have looked at everything. All the teachings of all the religions and reasoned with every single one to come to a conclusion of one perfect faith that they really believed to be right. If you asked them why they said this they would be able to talk for hours on their reasoning.
The unintelligent person doesn’t understand what they believe in. the only reason they feel love for God and believe God has love for them is because that is the only thing they have ever been taught. They have been fed this simple bit of information by someone who was possibly just as stupid as them. If time was spent teaching that person to think for themselves showing them all the possibilities their beliefs could change. However, this, the most unintelligent person in the world would not have the mental capacity to truly think for themselves or question something they have been told since birth
The extremely intelligent person would have taken so much time considering everything there is to know and taking every argument you could ever possibly throw at them and coming up with a response that they could explain so much it would eventually go beyond your own understanding and there would be nothing you could say that could change their mind.
You could therefore argue that both of the individual’s religion is as strong as it could be. However a faith that is simply based on a feeling but accompanies no understanding of that feeling is a meaningless one, and a belief that is base solely on reasoning but is not fuelled by a passion is equally as meaningless. The strongest faith there is is one that has been examined by a person who had an unexplainable spiritual instinct and wanted to explain it, to know where that feeling came from and think about their faith for themselves in order to ensure their thoughts and that feeling were truly their own. A faith that grows as the understanding of it does.
How would you define ‘Human Rights’?
Human rights are a set of ethical rules that state how we should be treated as human beings. They say as we are intelligent beings who can think understand and feel we should all be treated with respect by each other, that we as humans who have developed to create a whole complex civilisation deserve to be treated to a certain standard.
Does this put people who have not achieved the level of formal operations at a disadvantage from a religious point of view?
Not being at this level puts you at a disadvantage in terms of understanding not just religion but anything. Before this stage you can teach someone how they should behave in that religion such as when you go to a church keep quiet, stand up when everyone else does go to the alter and kneel or take your shoes off and wash in a certain way before entering a Mosk just as you teach a child they should brush there teeth or eat with cutlery. The person will understand what they have to do but they will not understand why. They will not understand the meaning of communion or why they have to practice Wudu just a child will not be able to understand about the damage bacteria has on your teeth or all the different social conventions about how it is polite to behave.
Until someone understands why he or she is doing something they won’t have the will to do it. If a parent is not there to tell a child to brush its teeth wont because they don’t understand that things they cannot see can hurt their teeth. Someone who has not reached a formal level of operations will practice religious beliefs if they are told but they will have no love for God or any of the fundamental things that religion is based on. Someone who has not yet reached level 5 will not be able to comprehend God. A person that is not even a person, that has no body, can be everywhere at one time is hard for someone past level 5 to understand so for someone who isn’t it is incomprehensible. Unless god can be seen, touched, smelt, heard he cannot exist to that person and therefore cannot be loved and the basis for most religions is to do the will of a God like being because you trust and love him.
Surely everyone has encountered a perfect circle or perfect justice at some time or other?
Plato said that maths and sciences are training for grasping the above as it is because of these practices we know for example that we cannot get a perfect circle. Because of complex mathematical and scientific methods of measuring we know perfect circle but a truly perfect circle cannot exist. Mathematicians have got extremely close to producing a perfect but a perfect circle has never been seen by anyone.
When looking at things that cannot be measured in this way, however, it becomes a little trickier. We have al seen justice in our lives however one persons ides of justice is usually another persons idea of injustice. Some people say that justice will be done if Suddam Hussein is put to death for his crimes; some say that it will be done if he is left to rot in prison for the rest of his life yet his supporters say justice will be done once he is released.
A perfect justice would be one that has no floors. Everyone would agree and it would be right in everyway. There would be no room for mistrals, lies or human bias. Has this sort of justice ever really happened on this earth? Has there ever been a justice that was perfectly fair ant that everyone in the entire world agreed on? I don’t that has ever happened or ever will happened.
Links between Plato and Piaget
Both Plato and Piaget have developed a theory on how minds developed their understanding. Plato was a philosopher and therefore his theories were about the abstract. His theory of how we can understand the forms is about how we can begin to achieve a deeper knowledge about the thing in this life by mastering the maths and the sciences. Piaget, a psychologist describes how our brains naturally develop in a way that helps us understand abstract ideas such as this.
Plato’s theory is so far impossible to prove as it is based on rationalisation and a belief in other worldly things. Piaget’s theory can be proved by measuring people’s understanding of such things as they grow from birth. They are linked as they show how we can go from not even being aware of ourselves or our senses, to being able to understanding complicated sciences, which help understand this world and in turn help us understand the possibility of another world.