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What Philosophical problem was the primary concern of the Pre-Socratics?

The pre-Socratics were primarily focused on exploring the main cause of the creation of the world and the basic substance of everything around us. They questioned the one and the many. Instead of acknowledging many of the more traditional mythological explanations of the time for the natural phenomena they saw in the world such as solar eclipses, they searched for rational and logical explanations. Their primary concern was the search of the most basic substance that everything around them was made of. Thales was the first of these philosophers to try to answer this fundamental problem. He saw that water could be turned into air when it is heated and into ice when frozen so he hypothesized that the most basic substance from which everything arose from was water. He seemed to view the earth as solidifying from the water on which it floated and surrounded the ocean. Anaximander, which was a student of Thales, claimed that the substance wasn't water or any of the other elements. It was actually something that was infinite and indefinite, calling it "Apeiron". Apeiron was a substance that lacked qualities but was unlimited. It differentiated primary opposites such as the cold and fire, and the wet and dry. It is basically a higher, living force that guides the natural process, allowing it to create everything around us. His student, Anaximinies also believed that the substance was infinite however; he thought it was also something definite. He reasoned that since humans and animals needed air to survive, air turned into our flesh and blood and therefore it could also become the earth, wind and everything around us. Heraclities, unlike the other philosophers, focused on the force that regulated life and nature which he called the Logos or rule. He recognized the constantly changing nature of everything around us, such as the continuous, changing flow of water in a river. Over time a certain amount of time, anything begins to change in some shape or form. Of course we know today that these philosophers had the wrong solutions. We know currently that quarks and subatomic particles are what everything around us is made up of, but their questions impacted other philosophers and gave birth to science and philosophy. As science progresses, we may even come across a more basic substance since in the past, atoms were thought as the smallest building block of life.

How is knowledge acquired according to Plato?

According to plato, knowledge was not gained but was a form of recollection. He thought that humans already possessed knowledge, and that they only had to be led to find what they already knew. In order for this to be true however, there must be some part of humans that is eternal and according to Plato, that part is the soul. He says that the soul is an immortal part of us, and that we learnt about Forms from previous lives. Whenever we learn something, it is only recollecting whatever they already know. When we retrieve them from within, we then recognize it as correct. In his dialogue, the Meno, Plato used his teacher, Socrates to ask a slave boy some questions. Socrates guided the slave boy to understand a square root through questioning, even though the boy had no prior knowledge. Of course, his definition does not really encompass everything we normally consider as knowledge, such as when we learn about current events because of the constantly changing world around us. I think another problem with his theory is that the boy was not necessarily recollecting any information, but simply figuring it out by reason especially since Socrates' line of questioning was designed to help coach the boy to the answer. It seems that he was trying to give an instance of where recollection "may" have happened. There must have been at least one point when someone learns something for the first time. It leaves open many kinds of other inquiry on more random subjects such as what the winning lottery numbers are or what the weather is like tomorrow.

Does Plato prove the immortality of the soul?

In his dialogue, Phaedo, Plato portrays Socrates as he tries to prove the immortality of the soul by arguing about how the opposites of two things only are so when they are equally exclusive of one another. When someone sleeps, they cannot be awake at the same time; yet, someone can only be so after being awake. Following this logic, he also uses this argument on life and death. Life and death are distinguished opposites hence, death only arises out of life and life arises out of death. Using this reasoning, he says that the soul which brings the body to life must be immortal since life cannot be death Socrates also uses his theory of recollection as a reason



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