This is very abstract. Simple English Reading in Philosophy, anyone? Sooner or later, this subject has to be tackled.
If only for the poor folks in non-Western cultures who don't understand our strange pursuit of ideals via violence etc.
I agree, Platonism is probably one of the most basic concepts in philosophy. I hope I have improved this article a little by using the simpler term perfect and perfection to the more complex ideal, I also included a short bit about what Plato actually believed and gave the philosophy it's other name or anti realism. --Sim 00:04, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
- Indeed, it was almost unreadable. I've rewritten it. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:37, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
- It is often perceived that study of philosophy makes one an awful writer. And so I respect the efforts of those to make it readable to those unfamiliar with history of philosophy and history of science. Yet it was made utterly false, and heavily laden with presentism, the imposition of current views and biases when trying to explain historical individuals' views and biases. The problem of universals, called for to understand Platonic realism, was deleted. Much irrelevant information, adding other people's musings not notably related to Platonic realism, was added.
- Utter mischaracterization of Plato as "anti-scientific" was added. Plato could perhaps be characterized as scientific antirealist, yet so were the 21st century's philosophers of science most fervently devoted to science, the logical empiricists, who when first assembled in the late 1920s as the logical positivists were just as aggressively scientific antirealist as convinced that science was the path to all knowledge. Scientific antirealism is simply the view that scientific theory in itself, developed through inferences trying to explain observations, cannot reveal the true state and nature of the mind-independent world.
- Many theoretical physicists today are instrumentalists, also not scientific realist yet perhaps better called scientific nonrealist than scientific antirealist, although instrumentalism, too, is often called a variant of scientific antirealism. Physical theory, whether relativity theory or quantum theory, offers what is called formalism, simply mathematical equations to predict future observations from input of present data. Yet quantum field theory does not advance interpretation to explain why such phenomena are predicted. Whereas a strict scientific antirealist, such as logical positivist, forbids scientific theory from explaining anything but direct observations and axioms describing their relations according to humans' own patterns of experience/observation, an instrumentalist permits within scientific theory claims about unobservables, yet simply accords to the scientific theory no truth value either false or true, as the scientific theory is simply an instrument to predict observations.
- Plato could not even quite be characterized as instrumentalist, as he sought to use natural philosophy to attain truth—simply not to be revealed by assessing only observations [Heterhington NS, Cosmology: Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Perspectives (CRC Press, 1993), pp 71-4, http://books.google.com/books?id=8lGNQMUTr0gC&pg=PA71&dq=Plato]. Yet is it dubious that Aristotle was any more a lover than was Plato of what we today call science, which was not developed until Galileo introduced experimentation in the early 17th century. In ancient Greece's physical theory, humans were endowed with physical freedoms by way of reason that other entities in the world did not have. So the very concept of experimentation was foreign to ancient Greek natural philosophers, as that would have been foolishly tampering with nature, making it artificial, before trying to describe and explain it. They viewed human activities as subverting the natural motions of objects on their ways to their natural places—earth and water intrinsically falling while air and fire intrinsically rose. It has been claimed that when Aristotle stated the number of teeth in a man's mouth versus a woman's mouth, he did not even bother to actually count them to learn that both men and women had the same number of teeth.