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Application of Critical Theory in Aristotle and Plato’s Work Essay

 

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Introduction

The history of critical theory can be interpreted on a broad spectrum of the disciplines of both philosophy and the history of social sciences (Hohendahl et.al, 37). Among one of the interpretations is the fact that critical theory influenced various generations of social theorists in Western European Marxist tradition as well as German philosophers. According to critical theorist, a “critical” theory distinguishes from a “traditional” theory based on a particular practical objective.

In general, critical theory is a Marxist-inspired movement in political and social philosophy, which was formerly associated with the Frankfurt school’s work (Hohendahl et.al, 57). Over the years, critical theories have been building on the thoughts of Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx in maintaining that the primary objective of philosophy is to help in understanding and overcoming the social structures through which human beings have not only dominated but also oppressed. In this way, by believing that like other forms and aspects of knowledge, science has been utilized as a tool of oppression, critical theorists caution against having blind faith in the scientific developments and progress (Hohendahl et.al, 65). On the same breath, these scholars argue that scientific knowledge should not be followed as an end in itself without referring to the objective of human emancipation.

Based on this argument, critical theory has been instrumental in the study of literature, history, law, as well as social sciences. Therefore, critical theory can be described as a sustained negotiation and conversation between the texts making up that history. On this premise, the following paper will discuss the works of Aristotle and Plato by showing how critical theory applies in Aristotle’s application of Plato’s work.  [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

 

Overview of Critical Theory

Critical theory stresses the reflective critique and assessments of the society as well as culture through application of knowledge from the social humanities and sciences. Notably, as a term, critical theory has two meaning that have different histories and origins. The first meaning originated in political philosophy and sociology while the second meaning in literary theory and studies. Briefly, in political philosophy and sociology, “critical theory” refers to the neo-Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School that was developed in the 1930s in Germany.

According to Max Horkheimer the Frankfurt theorist, a theory can only be termed as “critical” if its objective is to liberate humanity from any circumstance that enslave them. Theorists in Frankfurt drew on the critical methods of Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx (Mayhew, 28). One of the aspects that are maintained by critical theory is that ideology is the primary obstacle to human liberation. Apparently, critical theory was established and developed as a school of thought by five theoreticians from the Frankfurt School who included Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Erich Fromm, and Walter Benjamin. Accordingly, the modern critical theory has been additionally influenced by Antonio Gramsci and György Lukács including Jürgen Habermas, who is one of the second-generation Frankfurt School scholars. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

In reference to the above brief definition, it would be prudent to note that in a broader approach, critical theory seeks to not only change but also destabilizing the contemporary or established knowledge (Sermon, 66). As one the key theories that were developed by the German philosophers, critical theory emphasizes that all knowledge is biased and historical and that ‘objective’ knowledge is illusory. The theory focuses on the aspect of knowledge transfer by understanding and criticizing the available information to provide a more advanced understanding. in itself, critical theory was started from the times of Freud and Marx  before enplaning through the twentieth century to cover different areas such as  linguistics, literary criticism, psychology, semiotics, screen theory, philosophy, feminism, and includes methods such as deconstruction,  post-structuralism, structuralism, and postmodernism. In this regard, one would be forgiven when arguing that the history of critical theory can be described as a sustained conversation and negotiation between the texts making up that history (Mayhew, 28). Through this argument, it is clear that philosophers have relied upon works that their seniors did before them to offer more knowledge on the same subjects or related fields. In this way, the society has been impacted by wider volumes of materials that cover different areas of information and thoughts.

Based on the above assertion, Plato and Aristotle are some of the earlier philosophers who transferred and shared knowledge to affect the societal thinking and understanding (Arabia & Mahdi, 91). In this respect, these two philosophers form one of the good examples that illustrate the practical application of critical theory. In this paper, the works of Plato and Aristotle will be discussed with that intention of showing knowledge transfer between the early philosophers. The following section will posit that through Plato’s work, Aristotle was able to provide a different perspective of knowledge on the same subjects that were advanced by his teacher Plato. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

 

A Brief Overview of the Works of Aristotle and Plato

Although some of the works that Plato and Aristotle did are slowly disappearing in modern philosophy, importantly, they laid the foundation through which modem understanding of different aspects that relate to critical thinking on different issues in life (Serkman, 68). Study shows that currently. only thirty one treaties of Aristotle’s work are remaining , having written more than two hundred treaties. At the same time, most of the Aristotle’s works are primarily teaching aids and lecture notes. Besides few ethics of Aristotle’s works remaining of relevant to the application in different areas of studies,  it is prudent to underscore the fact that his philosophy contributed immensely on many issues such as physics, biology, medicine, religion, and politics for many years. most of Aristotle’s important works which was copied hundreds of times throughout hand in medieval and ancient times  included the Physics, Metaphysics, Poetics, Politics, and  De Anima (On the Soul) (Morgan, 55). Accordingly, these together with other treaties would be collected in what would later be called the Corpus Aristotelicum which is always serve as the basis for hundreds of teaching and private libraries in the ninetieth century.

On his side Plato’s work can be roughly be divided into three periods (Farabi & Mahdi, 91). First is his early period that featured much about Socrates, whereby Plato has taken the role of a dutiful student who was ensuring that his tutor’s ideas continued to be alive. Evidently, of Plato’s work during this period were being written in form of dialogue , by applying the Socratic method which included asking questions in order to explore knowledge and concepts as the basis for his teaching (Barker,66). Particularly, “the apology”, which is one of the Plato’s famous works and which entails the trial of his teacher and execution, is included in this period.

The second period, which also considered as the middle period of Plato has included works that explores morality as well as virtue in the society and at an individual level (Reale et al., 66). In these presentations, Plato presents lengthy and detailed discussions on wisdom, justice, courage, as well as the duality of responsibility and power. Under this period, one of his most famous works is “the republic”, which explains the vision of the utopian society.

The third and final period of his writings, mostly discuss the role of art, in relation to ethics and morality (Reale et al., 26). In these works, Plato challenges his ideas and he including exploring his own conclusion with self-debates. At the end, he comes up with the philosophy of idealism whereby instead of reality, the truest essence of things occurs in thought. for example, under the “The Theory of Forms” as well as other works, Plato argues that since it is only ideas that are constant, the world is perceived by senses is considered as changeable and deceptive.

Analysis of Aristotle and Plato Works In Relation to Critical Theory

As noted above, critical theory emphasizes on the transfer of knowledge by not only criticizing the available knowledge but also providing a different outlook. Notably, Plato influenced Aristotle, just as Socrates influenced Plato (Serkman, 58). In this way, Aristotle was able to buy many ideas from Plato, which would form the basis of his argument. The following section seeks to outline different subjects that both philosophers covered and how Aristotle used the previous works of his teacher to build on his own work.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

Firstly, it would be prudent to underscore the contributions that the works of Aristotle and Plato affected to the society, even after their death (Herman, 80). As a teacher and a student, their work’s influences would however go different directions. Notably, Plato became the main Greek philosopher due to his with Socrates and Aristotle. The presence of his work would later be used until his academy was closed in the 529 A.D. thereafter, Plato’s work would be copied throughout Europe. In many centuries, classical form of education would assign the works of Plato as readings whereby until nineteenth century, “the republic” was the premier work on political theory, which was being admired due to its views as well as its elegant prose.

On the other hand, Aristotle and his works were considered as the basis for both science and religion specifically in the middle Ages (Serkman, 61). For example, in religion, Aristotelian ethics were the basis for the works of St. Thomas Aquinas’, which would forge Christian thought on the role of virtue and free will. The scientific observations of Aristotle were regarded as the last word when it came to knowledge until around the sixteenth century after the Renaissance thought eventually replaced and strongly challenged much of it (Schofield, 37). Despite the replacement and negative criticisms of Aristotle’s work, his empirical approach based on observation, direct experience (experimentation), and hypothesis has been the basis for scientific activity in almost all fields of study.

Philosophically, Plato believed that concepts took a universal form, which he described as an ideal form, which informed his idealistic philosophy (Herman, 86). Building on this argument, Aristotle observed that universal forms were not really attached to each concept or object. Further, Aristotle argued that for each instance of a concept or an object, one must analyze them on their own, which informed the Aristotelian Empiricism. On the same breath, according to Plato, through reasoning and experiments would be enough to provide proof of a concept or establish the qualities attributed to an object. However, Aristotle dismissed this argument, but instead favored experience and direct observation. In such arguments, Aristotle was able to give a counter perspective of the works and beliefs of Plato, thus emphasizes the assertions in the critical theory.

In political theory, Plato was of the view that one should subsume his political interests to that of the society, which would achieve a perfect form of government (Herman, 69). Through his work, “the republic”, Plato described a utopian society by noting that the three classes, which included the philosophers, warriors, and workers, together with the society’s responsibility and governance were given to those were seem to be the best qualified under, “Philosopher Rulers.”

In this way, the elite were taking care of the less capable in the society. On his part, Aristotle considered the basic political unit as the “polis”, which ensured that it took precedence over family unit that in turn took precedence over individuals (Price, 59). Aristotle observed that since man is an animal in nature, politics would functions not as a machine but as an organism. Although Aristotle eschewed a large-scale construct such as empires and nations as well as utopian solution, he was able to move beyond political theory to become the first political scientist when he observed political processes for the formulation of improvements.

In ethics, the connection between Plato and Aristotle is most obvious especially when referring to the views morality (Kavanaugh, 42). On his part, Plato supported Socrates observation that knowledge is virtue in itself, which means that by knowing the right thing is not enough until the good is done. In other words, if one knows the right thing to do, he will automatically be led into doing the right thing. Therefore, it is possible to teach virtue by learning right from wrong and good from evil. On the other hand, Aristotle argued that knowing what the right thing was not enough (Kavanaugh, 45). In this way, he believed that one had to choose to act in the proper way by creating the essence of doing well. Therefore, Aristotle’s definition put the Aristotelian ethics on a practical plane instead of theoretical one that was supported by Plato and Socrates. Consequently, Aristotle was able to make his arguments on ethics from the earlier definitions of Plato, further cementing the critical theory on this illustration.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is concretively clear that the influence of Plato on Aristotle’s works contributed immensely to the field of philosophy and laid the foundation of not only ancient society but also the modern understanding of the different issues in life, including science. In  regard to critical theory, which emphasis that a theory is only critical if its objective is to change the lives of people, both works helped to provide the basis for critical thinking and critiquing. The brought forward different ways of critics and sought to improve people’s lives. Science heavily borrows from their principles and the world shall thus remember them for more years to come as the greatest philosophers of all time who influenced nearly all aspects of life. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

 

Works Cited

Barker, E. Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle. Dover Publications, 2012. Internet resource.

Farabi, and Muhsin Mahdi. Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Ithaca (N.Y.: Cornell University

Press, 2012. Print.

Herman, Arthur. The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle and the Struggle for the Soul of

Western Civilization. New York: Random House, 2013. Print.

Kavanaugh, Leslie J. The Architectonic of Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz. Amsterdam:

Amsterdam University Press, 2007. Print.

Mayhew, Robert. The critical theory. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. Print.

Morgan, Millan. Classics of Aristotle and Plato. Indianapolis, (2011). Hackett Pub. Co.

Price, A W. Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle. New York: Oxford University Press,

  1. Internet resource.

Reale, Giovanni, and John R. Catan. A History of Ancient Philosophy. Albany: State University

of New York Press, 2015. Print.

Schofield, Malcolm. Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoreanism in the First Century Bc: New

Directions for Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.

Serkman, Rietry. The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle and the Struggle for the Soul of

Western Civilization. New York: Random House, 2013. Print.

 

Lawrence Heights Essay

 

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Lawrence Heights is a low income neighborhood in Toronto. This community is located in north-west of central Toronto and is bordered by Lawrence Avenue and Highway 401 and Dufferin Street to the south, north and west respectively. Lawrence Heights is known for its old buildings that date back to the early 1960 when they were fast put up by Metropolitan Toronto. The picture on the cover page gives an insight on how the buildings look like. This paper therefore outlines the description, strengths and weakness of the Lawrence Heights and how they could be improved (Toronto Public Library, 2016).

Lawrence Heights is known for several reasons. To start with, Lawrence Heights is known for leading in crime and murder cases in Toronto. It also comprises of post-World War II storey dwellings and bungalows. From the image, one can appreciate that this is an image of a storey-and-a-half dwelling more than 50 years of age. For quite some time, there have been proposals and activities to bring down majority of the older houses and bring up modern ones. However, efforts from heritage communities have seen revitalization of most of the buildings in order to preserve the communities long known character (Toronto Neighborhoods, 2016).[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Most of the buildings in Lawrence Heights are more than five decades and in need of major repairs. Most of the streets are not connected to other communities and so residents lack the sense of belonging and feel isolated. The need for revitalization is among the priorities in developmental plans in Lawrence Heights. Lawrence Heights attracted many real estate business businessmen and builders based on the area’s proximity to downtown and city outlets (Toronto Neighborhoods, 2016). Many older houses have been demolished and replaced with ultramodern ones. It started in 2007 when Howard Moscoe, the then city councilor, came up with the plan of revitalization of Lawrence Heights. The plan would then see demolition of all the 1,208 households and be replaced by modern and affordable ones. At the end of 2015, the project had kicked with demolition still taking place at Ranee Avenue and Flemington Road (Pathways to Education, 2016).[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

Lawrence Heights is known for being more active in youth and senior development programs. Such programs have been aimed at reducing crime and murder rates in the community. For instance, Lawrence Heights Community Centers program offers various recreational activities for its populations. The program is inclusive of sports like basketball and various activities that range from newborns to adults. At some point in time, Lawrence Heights was designated to be among the top communities in Toronto that required initiation of development and other programs. The youth were the most targeted group in these programs that were aimed at reducing the prevalence of crime and murder cases.

Despite all these, Lawrence Heights also has its other side of the story. To start with, Lawrence Heights is a vibrant community that comprise of diverse population that originated from all over the world (Caribbean, parts of Africa and even the Maritimes). The result of this is partnerships and lasting friendships something that created a strong sense of community pride. Concerns have therefore been raised on whether embracing change inform of revitalization would still allow for the Lawrence Heights community to exist. However, there have been tensions and culture clashes among the different populations.

Conclusion

Being a middle class neighborhood that has been in existence for more than 50 years, Lawrence Heights needs elaborate plans to see its transformation into a modern but still affordable neighborhood. Such plans already in progress include revitalization and other programs such as Lawrence Heights Community Center programs. These programs are aimed at improving the general outlook of Lawrence Heights while at the same time maintaining the existing good relationship among its residents.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

References

Toronto Public Library. (2016). Historical Walking Tour of Lawrence Park. Toronto Public Library.

Pathways to Education. (2016). Toronto – Lawrence Heights. (2016). Pathways to Education.

Toronto Neighborhoods. (2016). Toronto Neighbourhood Guide. Toronto Neighborhoods

 

Lighting in Theater Essay

 

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Lighting is a very important aspect of live theater and perhaps the most valuable technical facet of theatrical performances. Lighting was accommodated into the theater from the 1400 AD when dramatics desired to have night performances with candles lighting up the first theater (The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston 11). Having thousands of candles as a source of lighting for a performance, it must have been very essential for the theatrics to have light.  Lighting in theaters not only needs to be clear, it should also be decorative to bring the audience to the experience of good plays and operas. The dramatics of all time understood this and Sebastiano Serlio perfected the decorative lighting in 1500AD by placing candles behind colored bottles as cited by the Edison Electric Illuminating Company OF Boston (15).

Footlights were developed in the seventeenth century and are credited to Nicola Sabbatini. They were placed on the floor all through the performance. Candles within lanterns were also established in the eighteenth century. This was the century that marked the greatest change in the theatrical world as we know it. Theatrics in this era, like Gian Battista Piranesi, understood the value of realism to the audience. Gian found that darkening the stage brought a sense of reality to the audience and the only way he could do this was to have the candles inside the lanterns. After the candles, the kerosene lamps followed that were hung from the ceilings. They were crucial during performances as they required human aid to control the brightness while certain changes of performance took place, for example, turning from day to night. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

The next development was gas lighting. It was developed in 1803 and was much better than candle and kerosene. It was taken into consideration by the Opera house in Philadelphia; the Opera house manufactured its own gas from the basement of the theater. An interesting light was developed by Henry Drummond. He discovered that if one burnt a piece of lime a spot of light was formed. Dramatists of the time took up this “limelight” and made great acts with it. However, this marked the end of candles, gas lamps, and kerosene lamps. A far more advanced technology had set in (The Edison Electric Illuminating Company OF Boston 25).

In 1846, electricity came into being; the future of theatrics. The Paris Opera performed an act in which Moses appeared in dazzling white in a dark background. It was spectacular. With that theater was never the same again. To date, many changes have taken place and theater lighting has grown better from the first candle lighting (The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston 30). One of these many changes is The Source ETC. This is a fixture “that changed the lighting industry as attested to by the Visual Environment Technologies (Para 1). It has a remarkable lighting and an excellent ‘zoom in’ property which highlights its specializations as “Source Four’s revolutionary technology gives you a clean white beam for unequaled imaging, crisp pattern projection, and a bright, even field” (Visual Environment Technologies Para 2).

The types of light required in a theater are floods, soft spots, profile Spots, and beam lights which comprise the latest advancement in lighting that has given birth to the Source Four lighting. The Source Four has brought theater experience straight from our dreams with the technology of clear lighting, the clean white beam for unequaled imaging and “ETC’s patented one-handed zoom operation makes adjustments quick, simple and safe. Technicians can focus with one hand and hold the ladder with the other (Vincent Lighting Systems Para 3).

Lighting is formulated through a process that entails the roles of many people. The director should have a lighting that creates realism for the audience. It should, therefore, be comfortable. Lighting should aim to enhance the scene and it should be proportional to the size of the theater. Salzberg and Kupferman (5) explain on how to light different types of theaters. Proscenium Stages, as elaborated by Salzberg and Kupferman (6) normally have lighting around the positions that run across the stage and are downstage or upstage of the proscenium are lighted. The authors explain that also the balcony can be used to hang the lighting fixtures. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

The Royal Court Theater uses bright lights during its performances. The bright lights are comfortable for the audience and dramatists. In the recent past, the Royal Court Theater has embraced LED lighting. The theatrics here chose the white color that would suit their change of venue as attested to by the White Light (Para 3). The lighting in Romeo and Juliet, showcased in Branagh theater, was clear and in tune with the storyline. It was a bright yet comfortable shade of yellow. This ensured a clear view of the dramatists as well as the creation of realism.

With the new technology in lighting, in order to have great lighting, various lighting fixtures are used in theater to adequately light the stage.  Such are Fresnel and Ellipsoidal.   Fresnel spotlights pairs or floods to create washes or soft area light. The Fresnel is quite similar to ellipsoidal but has a softer edge to the light beams. Ellipsoidal (ERS) allows precise placement of bright and directional light. It is commonly used for accenting. The ellipsoidal can adjust from a sharp-edged, focused beam to a soft, diffused light. This is a function the Fraser cannot perform (Vincent Lighting Systems Para 2)

With this great achievement comes equally great risk; a risk of fire. From the time dramatists accommodated artificial light, it has been a danger to contend with. Advancement in fire prevention has not changed a lot as “fire protection measures, details differing from one region to another, have been established, codified and enforced throughout the world and have changed little over the past 100 years” (Ove Arup & Partners PC 7). For instance, the Brooklyn Theatre caught fire on December 5, 1876 (Flynn 4). This can be attributed to the fact that many people show up for theatrical performances and the theaters are mostly overcrowded. One way to control fires is to have many theaters so that people do not overcrowd in those available. The people who attend these events are different. Some of them are handicapped (maybe on wheelchairs). For this group, there should be an exit erected close to where they are supposed to sit. Protection devices should be activated in case of a fire. For example, sprinklers and curtains to accommodate fires on the stage.  Ventilation should also be well incorporated in theatrical edifices. In addition to ventilation, mechanical means of exhaustion should be established (Ove Arup & Partners PC 12).  [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

Work Cited

Flynn, John. Theatre Fires Political and Legal Foundations of Fire Protection. University of Cincinnati, 2012,

Kupferman, Judy and Salzberg Jeffrey E. “Stage Lighting For Students”. Stagelightingprimer.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

Vincent Lighting Systems. The Differences between Fixtures. Vincent Lighting Systems, 2016,

The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston. The History of Stage and Theatre Lighting.  The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston, 2016. Print.

Ove Arup & Partners PC. Fire Safety in Theatres – A New Design Approach Final Report. The Fire Protection Research Foundation, 2009.

White Light. Royal Court Theatre Goes LED With New Profiles. White Light, 2016,

Visual Environment Technologies. Source Four: the Fixture that changed the Lighting