Term Paper: Plato on Existence of God
Sample Term Paper
This term paper discusses existence of God from Plato’s point of view. In Plato’s picture of things, the Forms do not replace the gods; in his view, there are gods in addition to human souls, visible bodies, and Forms.
In Plato’s picture of things, the Forms do not replace the gods; in his view, there are gods in addition to human souls, visible bodies, and Forms. Consequently, what are these gods like? There are some clues to this in Plato’s Republic.
He starts from the assumption that the gods are ideal beings. He then considers stories told about the gods, for example, Zeus’ disguising himself as a swan and raping Leda, and erect an argument against this story. No being eagerly makes it worse. To take on an inferior outward form is to worsen oneself. The gods do nothing reluctantly and their forms are perfect. A lower animal (indeed, even a human being) has a form inferior to that of the gods. Therefore, the gods do not take on other forms. Thus, the story of Leda and the Swan alias Zeus must be false.
In Plato’s view, the gods are beings that have no trouble perceiving the absolute ideals; the gods are not the standards of justice, goodness, and beauty, but they are living beings that have perfect knowledge of these principles. Human souls between lives have greater or lesser trouble perceiving these absolutes it depends upon how much knowledge they gained in their previous lives; but every sight they gain of the absolutes, whether between lives or by philosophical reflection during life, helps to conquer the pressures that drag them back into the body. Until the human soul has lived a philosophical life three times in series, it must be reincarnated; but when it has done so, it may join the gods for eternal contemplation of the pure truths that exist beyond the universe.
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