Critically compare and contrast the views on human nature of any two of the thinkers studied in this unit. Which, in your judgement, is the more persuasive of the two views? Why?.
Plato and Aristotle come to very different conclusions about the aspects that occupy the central understanding of human nature. Both men possessed a superior intellect; indeed, this is an illustrative example of how, their fundamental differences included the theory of the forms, immortality and their contrasting views on human virtues. They differ radically in these issues, but are close in others, such as their view that the soul is the form of the body.
As an example of their fundamental differences, we can take Aristotle's critique of Plato's theory of the forms. Aristotle critiques Plato's forms as only abstract copies of actual things or beings. As such the forms do not provide any explanation of the existence of such thing or how they change consequently for that reason and several others, I believe Aristotle to have the more persuasive argument on the "forms". .
In the philosophy of Plato, the word "form" has a special meaning. Plato saw the cosmos divided into the sensible world (made up of things we know through the senses) and the intelligible world (made up of things we know through the intellect). The things we know through intellect, Plato called "forms" (Pinchin, 1990). Forms could not be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelt, nor did they exist in space or time. Instead forms were perfect ideas that existed eternally. Particular things in the sensible world; things that could be tasted, touched, seen, heard and smelt, were merely imperfect reflections of these ideal forms. In order to explain how sensible things come into being, Plato relies on the idea of participation. A table comes into being; he believes it participates in the form of "tableness". .
In contrast, Aristotle opposed Plato's theory of the forms for they did not explain the existence of such thing or how they change.