1. a) Explain how Plato’s epistemological assumptions shape his metaphysics (Why does he think that there must be Forms? Hint: Plato says (in effect): “Since knowledge is certain, therefore the objects of knowledge must be unchanging.”).
b) Define Plato’s Forms and present the theory of Forms by explaining the “divided line.” (You can use the visual image, but explain it.)
Plato was extremely devoted in answering the sophists’ skepticism about reason and morality. To do so, he spent more time than any philosopher before him studying knowledge, or epistemology. He realized that to answer the sophists’ skepticism he had to first solve the three main problems that earlier philosophers had left behind; the problems of change, the
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Plato wasn’t just satisfied with this, he wanted to know the virtues of these classes, in other words, he wanted to know what each could contribute best. Like organs in an organism’s body, Plato believed each part of the soul and state have a particular role to play in the whole; they were not discrete and complete in themselves. He thought that the function of the members of the producing class was to provide themselves and the nonproductive classes with the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing. He realized that if everybody were to be provided for sufficiently, some of the producers would have to put up with having less than others. They would have to be ready to “restrict one’s own consumption for the sake of achieving some sort of balance in the state as a whole”, thus their virtue is moderation or as Plato called it, temperance (Jones 169). The guardians, who make up the second class, must be courageous when defending the state against its enemies, thus their virtue is courage. The governors make the highest decisions in the state. They determine war or peace, educational and economic policies, and so on. To make correct decisions they require knowledge; this is their virtue. A state in which each class is performing its function is just state. Only when the rulers are making wise decisions that are executed with courage and loyalty by the guardians,