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Plato vs Materialists Plato was concerned with Epistemology Epistemology deals with the possibilities and limits of human knowledge It tries to arrive at a knowledge of knowledge itself It tries to answer such questions as Is the world as people perceive it the basic reality or do people perceive only appearances that conceal basic reality Knowledge may be regarded as having two parts There is first of all what one perceives using the five senses Next there is the way these perceptions are organized by the mind to form ideas or concepts The problem of epistemology is based on how philosophers have understood the relationship of the mind to the rest of reality Plato used his Theory of Forms to link the mind and reality For the average person common sense says that there is a real world of perceivable objects These objects can be analyzed and understood Philosophers have not let the matter rest there Plato taught that the real world consisted of universal ideas forms The world that people actually see is given form by these ideas and is thus less real because it is always changing but the ideas forms are eternal and unchangeable Opponents of Plato such as materialists have claimed that the ideas were nothing more than names people have attached to the objects they perceive Names of individual objects and of classes of objects are merely ways of organizing perceptions into knowledge People see one animal they decide to call dog All similar animals are called dogs and a whole category of animals is thereby named without any reference to eternal ideas or forms Materialists insist that all activities of mind and emotion are based on physical properties One example of accounting for this is that thought is only the function of a material brain and caused by electrical connections within the brain tissue Materialism states that all matter is made of atoms which are limitless
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