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Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

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Please address:

â?¢ A brief history of each philosopher.
â?¢ Include the view of each philosopher on the following seven items:

1. Metaphysics
2. Epistemology
3. ethics (moral philosophy)
4. free will and/or determinism
5. personal identity
6. the problem of evil
7. the existence of God

Please include the two references below, using APA citation. You are welcomed to include any additional references using APA citation.

Lane, Melissa. (6 September 2010). Ancient political philosophy. Retrieved 21 November 2010 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-political/

Silverman, Allan. (10 December 2008). Plato's middle period metaphysics and epistemology. Retrieved 21 November 2010 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-metaphysics/

Thank you very much.

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On Socrates

Socrates is considered to be the primary thinker of the triumvirate of Classical philosophy (Socrates, the teacher of Plato, who afterwards became the teacher of Aristotle). Much of what we know of Socrates came from the writings of Plato for the former did not write manuscripts to bequeath his students. In fact, being a man of the soil and having shunned all manner of wealth-making, focusing solely on philosophizing, Plato found Socrates lecturing on the markets of Athens, Plato a man of education and wealth and Socrates of the working masses. But Socrates found an ardent listener and student in Plato who brought his ideas to the eager students of what would be known as the 'Academy' and via his prolific work like 'The Republic'. So Socrates' ideas is preserved to us via the works of Plato and we can somewhat expect the student and the teacher to have the same viewpoints but not necessarily so. First let us look at Socrates:

1. Metaphysics - Socrates' metaphysics focused on questions of what is moral, what is virtuous, what is right. It is in this essence that he believes that all actions must be 'examined' to understand their morality, their worth.
2. Epistemology - for Socrates, it is possible to know the false from truth and we can know so by examining, questioning and basing this from the soul and the soul of those/that we question. Additionally, via the use of rationality, we can create an adequate image of our world.
3. Ethics (moral philosophy) - Here, he believes that to live a good life, we must know who we are, examine ourselves, our lives, our thoughts, our actions.
4. Free will and/or determinism - Socrates believes in predetermination and that free will or the idea of freedom is imagined. This can be read via the dialogue with Aeschines by Laertius -

 "A. So what determines this behaviour of these souls?

 S. Examples from parents, family, teachers, people you meet, heroes, reading, and so forth. You are determined all the time, by each new event.Is this the way the Gods control our destiny?

 S. Broadly, yes.

 A.I see. So when I choose, I imagine I'm choosing, but really it's all predetermined.

 S .Exactly. You are beginning to see the point. Then tell me, Socrates, ...

Solution Summary

This posting compares and contrasts the thought and philosophy of the following three philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. References are also given to validate.