When it comes to the coveted Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India, the philosophy optional subject has always held a special place. One of the most intriguing and intellectually stimulating optional subjects, philosophy has been a favorite among aspirants aiming to crack the UPSC mains. In this blog series, we delve into the world of philosophy optional topics, focusing on the wise previous year questions from 2013 to 2023. Today, we embark on an exploration of the philosophical giants, Plato and Aristotle, and their enduring influence on the UPSC mains examination. These two ancient Greek philosophers have left an indelible mark on the field of philosophy and continue to shape the way we think about ethics, politics, and metaphysics. Join us as we navigate the philosophical musings of Plato and Aristotle through the lens of UPSC mains questions, gaining insights into how their ideas continue to shape the world today.
As we journey through this blog series, we’ll not only explore the historical and philosophical context in which Plato and Aristotle lived and worked but also examine the relevance of their ideas in contemporary society. From discussions on the ideal state and the nature of knowledge to ethics and the pursuit of the good life, these philosophers have posed questions that remain central to our understanding of the human condition. Whether you’re a philosophy enthusiast or an aspiring UPSC candidate seeking to master this optional subject, this series promises to offer valuable insights and guidance by dissecting the questions from UPSC mains papers. Join us as we embark on a philosophical quest that unravels the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle and its pertinence in the modern world.
Plato and Aristotle Philosophy – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
1. In what sense can ideas be both immanent and transcendent ?Discuss in this context Plato’s theory of universal and particulars.(2017/10)2.
2. Explain Aristotle’s theory of form and matter. How does it help himresolve the problem of change and permanence ? (2017/15)
3. Does Plato’s ‘Theory of Form’ explain the ‘change’ and ‘sensibility’of matter? Give reasons for your answer.(2016/20)
4. Does Aristotle treat matter as a ‘Substance’? Give reasons for youranswer.(2016/20)
5. Aristotle’s distinction between ‘actuality’ and‘potentiality’.(2015/10)
6. Explain Plato’s theory of forms? Does it entail a kind ofessentialism? Discuss.(2015/20)
7. Explain the significance of Aristotle’s doctrine of form & matter inhis theory of causation. (2014/15)
8. Discuss between knowledge and belief according to Plato. How is itbased on his metaphysics ? Explain.(2014/20)
9. Explain Plato’s ontological theory of Forms. Is knowledge one of theForms ? Explain. (2013: 12 ½)
10. Discuss how by refuting different concepts of Substances Aristotleestablishes his own theory of a Substance ? (2013/10)
11. Discuss Aristotle’s metaphysical theory as a polemic against Plato’stheory of ideas.(2012/15)
12. How does Plato relate the world of ideas to the empirical world?Discuss. (2011/15)
13. How does Aristotle’s notion of causation defer from the modernnotion of causation. (2010/15)
14. Comment on – Plato’s analogy of the cave and its significance in histheory of knowledge. (2009/20)
15. Aristotle’s teleological conception of causation. Short Notes(2008/20)
16. Plato’s recollection theory of knowledge. Short Notes. (2007/20)
17. Discuss the ‘theory of matter’ according to Aristotle. Short Notes.(2006/20)
18. Distinction between opinion and knowledge. Short Notes.(2005/20)
19. State and discuss Plato’s theory of forms. (2004/60)
20. ‘A universal exists only in the particular’. Discuss in this connection Aristotle’s notion of universal and the idea of substance that follows it. (2003/60)
21. ‘While Plato’s metaphysics is a visionary one, Aristotle’s metaphysics is a descriptive one.’ Explain fully giving the essential differences between the views of the two thinkers regarding the nature of reality. (2002/60)
FAQs on Plato and Aristotle Philosophy
Q: What is the definition of philosophy according to Aristotle?
A: Aristotle defined philosophy as the “science of being qua being,” emphasizing the study of existence, reality, and the fundamental principles that underlie all knowledge. He viewed philosophy as the pursuit of wisdom through rational inquiry.
Q: What are the key differences between Plato and Aristotle’s philosophies?
A: Plato and Aristotle, while both influential Greek philosophers, held differing views on several key aspects. Plato believed in a world of ideal forms, emphasizing the immaterial realm, while Aristotle focused on the physical world, emphasizing empirical observation and categorization. Plato’s political philosophy leaned towards a philosopher-king ruling class, while Aristotle advocated for a more practical and balanced political structure. These are just a few examples of their philosophical disparities.
Q: What is Plato’s philosophy known for?
A: Plato is renowned for his philosophical contributions in various fields, such as ethics, politics, epistemology, and metaphysics. He introduced the theory of Forms, the allegory of the cave, and explored the nature of justice and the ideal state in his works, particularly “The Republic.”
Q: How did Plato and Aristotle contribute to literary criticism?
A: Both Plato and Aristotle made significant contributions to literary criticism. Plato’s dialogues, such as “The Republic” and “The Ion,” explored the nature of poetry and the role of art in society, often criticizing poets for their potential to deceive. In contrast, Aristotle’s “Poetics” remains a seminal work on dramatic theory, offering insights into the structure, elements, and functions of drama, which have greatly influenced literary analysis and criticism.
Q: What were the major philosophical schools associated with Plato and Aristotle?
A: Plato founded the Academy in Athens, which is often considered one of the earliest institutions of higher learning in the Western world. Aristotle, a student of Plato, later established his school, the Lyceum. These schools played a pivotal role in the development of Western philosophy, each with its own intellectual traditions and disciples who furthered their philosophical legacies.
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