Response to the Ancient Philosophers

To finish up our work on the Ancient Philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) for now, you are going to post a written response that addresses these guidelines:

1. Themes

What are the central ideas for each of these philosophers?

2. Education/Learning

What do these philosophers have to say about education and/or learning?

How do their ideas relate to what we have been up to this semester?

3. You

If Plato was writing about you and your philosophy, what would he say about you and why?


Expectations. Your responses should be substantive, specific, and thoughtful. I expect 250-500 words (10-12 point font). I will be scoring your work based on: 1) meeting the criteria, 2) writing well, 3) being thorough and thoughtful.

You can turn in your work in one of two ways:

a. Blog Post. You can post your work as a blog post here on Pace Commons. To to this, go to the "Create and Share" menu above and choose "Write a Blog Post." Be sure to use the tag: #theancients

Please note. If you post your work to Pace Commons, other students are able to see it.

b. Email a Word Document. You can email your essay to me directly. If you choose this option, only I will see your work.


This work is due by the time we meet for class on Wednesday September 25th.

    • Nick Merlau
      Nick Merlau

      - Socrates' philosophy was that he admitted that he doesn't, nor anyone else, has answers; we as people take our best-educated guess on what an outcome in a situation could be. We connect the dots of how things are supposed to work, but life doesn't always happen the way we think. Plato's philosophy was that education is the only way to truly nurture another person; giving them the power of knowledge is something that you cannot take back. It's like a gift that keeps on giving. Lastly, Aristotle's philosophy was knowledge can truly only come from experience; observing the world is the only way to take life at face value and perceive it the way you want to, instead of the way someone else does.

      - Each philosopher has a vast idea of education and how it should be executed (as shown in the dash above). But all of them believe that education is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of life. Their ideas relate to the conversations we've had this semester by us challenging and questioning how education/learning should be done and how it'd be effective for every student in the education system. Some believe learning is by doing and others do not.

      - If Plato was writing about me and my philosophy, he would agree with the way I've conducted my educational path. I do believe, like him, that knowledge is something you can't take away and is permanent.

      • Alex Muniz
        Alex Muniz

        Socrates philosophies consisted of admitting one's own ignorance to achieve ultimate wisdom. He believed in questioning the purpose and meaning behind things in order to generate discussion, creating the widely utilized socratic method in modern day education. Socrates mainly focused on the individual, explaining that there are no true answers to some things, and until one realizes that they will remain clouded by their own judgement. Plato theorized that true perfection exists in the mind of the individual. He believed that everything we judge is based off a "utopia" once lived in amongst the gods before our time on earth. He thought of form and matter existing on an astral plain of existence and believed in an eternal unchanging of objects on earth. Plato imagined human souls consisted of a rational thinking element which allows us to grow mentally and physically, but also imagines a desire-generating appetitive element of the soul that can drag down our logical thinking. Aristotle, on the other hand, rejected Plato's otherworldly views and instead viewed form and matter as essential to all things on Earth. He believed in the essential and non essential properties of things; what one object needs to be considered that object and what it doesn't necessarily need. Aristotle viewed Earth through a teleological lens, meaning all living things had some end goal they spent their existence working towards. His logic was also very advanced for his time, establishing a categorical syllogism to any argument. This meant Aristotle's arguments followed a four premise structure; All A are B, all A are not B, some A are B, some A are not B. This structure identifies all claims brought up, offers proof and debunks any arguments.

        While each philosopher has differing views about the structure of education, they all believe it is vital in order to expand the mind and evolve as a person. Socrates believed in discussion-based learning and that to understand multiple view points you have to first learn other peoples perspectives, hence the Socratic method. Even though he believed in discussion, Socrates didn't necessarily believe in formal education and actually separated this from the mind and body. Plato, however, believed education should be hands on, taught by a scholar in a school; you learn from one wiser than yourself. Aristotle had a mixture of both these approaches. He was a student of Plato so he did respect education taught by a teacher in a school, but also took the approach of free thinking and arguing against philosophies he didn't agree with, hence why he disagreed with Plato's views on the world. 

        If Plato were to write about me and my philosophy, I think he would agree with my journey so far as I've been in school for most of my life and am learning hands on, but I don't think he would agree with some of my philosophies that some things taught in school, for example public speaking, world language and writing, can be learned outside of a typical school and teacher, and instead can be acquired through real world experience.

        • Aaliyah Rodriguez
          Aaliyah Rodriguez

              The subject of Ancient Philosophy is a topic that we will never understand fully 100% because we weren’t there for the birth of it or the commencement of it, due to this we tend to follow or study the Philosophies of the three people who played a huge role in it. These three individuals; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle each had their own understandings and analysis of what Philosophy was and how it affected us entirely. Even though they had their very different understandings they all somehow interconnect, Not only  because they were basically each others proteges but also because of the way their minds worked in a contrasting manner. For instance Socrates’s philosophy is that you always need to find the truth within an answer. He always had a tactic of questioning the nature  every single answer given in order to enhance cognitive thinking and keeping the mind constantly active while also seeking the complete truth which is something he believed in called rational inquiry. This was a method he used in order to keep a conversation going filled with thinking and success which is now something that has been incorporated into modern education known as the Socratic or Socratic seminars.. When it came to his views on Education he believed that education was a fundamental tool needed in order for the different components that create a person which was Mind, Soul, and body should all be exercised. 

           Plato's Philosophy was that us humans tend to view the world or reality as some sort of Utopian society with no mishaps, errors, difficulties, when in all realness the world is the complete opposite of that and is very much filled with defective components. With that being said he believed that judgement from humans was always biased due to their imperfect way of thinking. Regardless of that Plato believed that education was fundamental in one's life, especially if it was visual learning, whereas Socrates is more of a conversation based learning guy. 

           Aristotle's Philosophy was more of an ethical philosophy even though he was Plato's student he had very much different views and focused  mainly on the purpose of certain things, he believed there was a time limit on everything, He made a huge contribution to math, metaphysics, etc. He believed that education and learning should be more of an experience journey rather than a generalized systematic setting. I believe that what we have been doing does relate more to Socrates Idea of learning because I notice that as a class we just learn more and more from each other by conversing rather than just being handed some sheets and just reading we actually get to question each others answers and voice our opinions and why we believe  the nature of what we voice.

          I believe that Plato  would not agree with my philosophy if he were to write about me because he believes that individuals have a Utopian way of thinking, but I believe that everyone has their own definition of perfect in their own sense,So what does he define as perfect because what some people may see as perfect others may see as chaotic and vice versa. While he is generalizing his Philosophy I’m individualizing mine.

          • Mariana Garcia Tinoco
            Mariana Garcia Tinoco

            Philosophy, Assertive and Necessary

            Philosophy sometimes may be thought of as a pointless doctrine. However, the study of it can widen the viewpoint of students and encourage their participation in the examination of themselves and their social environment.

                        In “An Introduction to Philosophy”  W. Russ Payne, faculty member of Bellevue College’s Philosophy Department and the author  of the text, addresses the three most renown ancient philosophers; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

                        According to Socrates, to seek the truth around issues with ethical implications, one must use rational inquiry. This philosopher concluded that the greatest knowledge he had relied on the fact that he was not knowledgeable at all. On the other hand, Plato believed that knowledge could only be found in the abstract forms of rational thinking such as mathematics. That is because, to him, the physical realm was only a reflection of memories from a world of perfection. In his point of view, social and individual justice could only be achieved through the correct management of the three elements composing the soul: the rational element, the willful element, and the appetite element. Lastly, Aristotle made important contributions in all academic areas including the creation of a logic system, and his metaphysical view of the world. This view contemplated the non-essential and essential traits of entities and their study.

                       In the same way, as in our classroom, each philosopher had his own beliefs on how to cultivate the mind. Nevertheless, all of them brought significant advancements into the forms of education of society in ancient and present times. Beginning with the developing rational thinking, to democracy, and even taxonomy. In the same manner that we practice in our classroom, these thinkers challenged the ideas of the education system of their era, the reason why the aforementioned advancements were accomplished in the first place.

                       Had Plato possessed the elixir of eternal life to be writing about my philosophy, I believe I would have stopped him to rather take the opportunity and discuss our concurring and differing views on the world. Maybe, we would learn something new; I am certain that would be my case. Although it would be more than easy for him to compose a text exploring our resembling ideals, like the concept of reaching the peak of our potential through the mind, I feel more curious as to what may he challenge and why.

                        Engaging in the study of the ancient methods of learning, and discovering that they are still applicable to our actual societal conditions is a magnificent way to practice philosophy. The addition of the fun element inquiry can trigger the self-questioning of our perspectives and convictions. 

                        In my point of view, developing philosophy from the inside and outside of our physical vessels is not only an assertive approach to the doctrine but also necessary to become better human beings.

            • Cooper Sandin
              Cooper Sandin

                  Socrates’ is mostly remembered for his contribution in the pursuit of rational inquiry as a means to an end of truth. This method, also known as dialectic or the Socratic method, requires a dialogue take place in which one interlocutor makes a claim regarding a particular subject. The second interlocutor must then offer any number of objections or counterexamples which prompts their partner to reformulate the original claim. This process continues and until ultimate truth is reached.
                  Plato claims that objects of knowledge are forms which are permanent abstract entities independent of real-world, physical things. According to Plato, epistemic excellence is found in seeking the knowledge of forms. In other words, one must be able to identify how things can be assigned to an overarching kind.
                  Regarding ethics, Plato creates a tripartite of the soul consisting of a rational thinking element, a motivating willful element, and a desire-generating appetitive element. It is the rational element of the soul which allows an individual to acquire knowledge but it must be done through teaching or the practice of dialectic. It is this rational element which can then keep the other two in check and ensure that they exist harmoniously; not allowing either to descend into the vices of gluttony and timidity but rather steer them towards virtues of temperance and courage. This ethical idea permeates into Plato’s conception of social justice as well. According to Plato, society must be led by those that most resemble that rational portion of the soul to ensure that those reflecting the willful and appetitive elements function together in harmony.
                  Aristotle’s primary contribution is his system of logic based on syllogisms or categorical arguments with two premises and one conclusion.
                  Additionally, Aristotle’s metaphysics contrasted greatly from his teacher, Plato, in that he totally denied Plato’s theory of forms and argued instead that things are the composite of matter (including the state of the matter) and form. Further, what a thing is is dependent on two types of properties: essential properties (what gives that thing its essence) and accidental properties (aspects of a thing that might vary but have no bearing on its essence). 
                  Aristotle’s metaphysics are teleological in that what makes something what it is can be generally understood in terms of its function; its end goal. A thing’s function can be understood in the context of Aristotle’s four clauses: the material clause, which is simply identifying the material or matter that the thing is made of, the formal clause, or the shape/structure of the material, the final clause, its end or function, and the efficient clause, or that which gives form to the matter’s structure.

              Ancients on Education: 
                  Socrates’ conception of dialectic is his greatest contribution to education, and, according to Plato, is the method by which one acquires wisdom. If we understand education’s purpose as facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, wisdom, or insight, it would seem the Socratic method can be seen as the basis for education in general. Aristotle, on the other hand, contributes an even more systemic process to the acquisition of wisdom in his categorical syllogisms, building on the methods developed by his predecessors. 

              What would Plato say about me?:
                  I can’t say for certain what Plato would say about me but I think he might have to refine his metaphysics, which rely heavily on the primitive society in which he lived, to make any argument regarding the thinking of a post-industrial individual. His theory of forms holds that there is a concrete difference between the physical world around us—that which we perceive, like the shadows on the cave wall—and the perfection of eternal abstractions, the world as it really is, what lays outside the confines of the cave. This idea is preeminent in western thought and tradition. It provides the basis for Christian idealizations of heaven—the gleaming utopia—and its stark contrast to the material, physical world in which we spend our mortal lives. The concept, however, is antiquated, and perhaps even decadent in the wake of industrialization which has steadily closed the gap between classical reality and its conceptions of imaginary utopias. Instead, we replace these utopias with mere reconfigurations of the society in which we live; society as subject to inevitable scientific advancement and economic expansion. Additionally, as technocratic conceptions of societal organization permeate deeper into our day to day lives, the real, the world outside the cave, will become increasingly reflective of the cave’s shadows.

            Philosophy of Education Fall 2019

            Philosophy of Education Fall 2019

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