Imaginary Plato-Style Dialogue between Socrates and Descartes

Imaginary Plato-Style Dialogue between Socrates and Descartes
Imaginary Plato-Style Dialogue between Socrates and Descartes

Imaginary Plato-Style Dialogue between Socrates and Descartes

Order Instructions:

Write an imaginary Plato-style dialogue between Socrates and Descartes. The subject should be the role of God in human knowledge. Assume that Socrates speaks for Plato. Hint: Plato does not give a big role to God (or the gods) while Descartes does. This piece should be about 1000 words.

Use the following format:

Socrates: Hello, Rene. How are you today? Have you heard that Google has announced the availability of a driverless car for the mass market?

Descartes: Oh, hi, Socrates. Yes, I have heard that. And it’s just in time too because my eyesight is getting so bad that I have been considering giving up my driver’s license.


Imaginary Plato-Style Dialogue between Socrates and Descartes

Socrates: Hello, Rene. How have you woken up this morning? The morning seems cold and chilly, not like it was yesterday.

Descartes: Hi Socrates, my morning is fine. However, the chilly weather does not favor me as I am suffering from a fever. I want to go and see a physician for some medicine. Well, this reminds me of how much God has endowed humans with vast resource of knowledge in all fields. Hey Socrates, how could the lives of humans be on earth without the intervention of God to provide us with the knowledge and wisdom of handling challenges that we encounter in life such as illnesses?

Socrates: Well, friend. I agree with you that humans have a vast resource of knowledge. Indeed, knowledge is a vital element in lives of humans. It offers the best way through which humans can live satisfying lives. However, I do not agree with the idea that God has a role in human knowledge. God’s wisdom and knowledge are supernatural and involves imaginary things, which cannot be perceived by the human eye. On the other hand, human knowledge is based on ideas and things that can be observed (Aquinas, 1981). Therefore, there is no connection between the knowledge that humans possess and God’s role in it.

Descartes: Oh! That sounds sad. How can a person live without acknowledging the significant role that God plays in the lives of humans including the provision of knowledge? When we are born, each one of us is often endowed with a specific knowledge in a given area (Aquinas, 1981). As we grow up, God opens our minds and gives us the strength to discover and exploit the wisdom and knowledge, which he gave us at the time of birth. Thus, many individuals manage to use this knowledge and wisdom in various fields such as medicine, engineering, and finance among others.

Socrates: My friend, I do not see any connection between the ways of God and that of humans in terms of knowledge and wisdom. Humans deal with physical objects that can be touched. Besides, the solutions to human problems have been obtained from sources that can be seen and touched. On the other side, God’s knowledge is based on a high form of illusion that exists within the minds of those who profess to believe in such knowledge.

Descartes: There, you get it wrong again friend. There exists a robust connection between the knowledge that humans possess and God. God is a spirit and his ways are not known to humans. Moreover, God’s ways cannot be comprehended by humans (Aquinas, 1981). Thus, the knowledge that comes from God is manifested in the lives of humans through the difficulties or impossibilities that humans solve. As such, the knowledge that humans have is a perfect representation of God’s knowledge at the simplest level of form.

Socrates: Still, I do not agree with your opinion. Human knowledge is gained from a long period of encounter with various objects and events in life. For instance, several discoveries that have been made in the field of medicine are attributed to a long period of hard work and dedication on the part of the discoverers. As such, human knowledge is derived from one’s mind since such ideas exists innately and latently in the human mind (Aquinas, 1981). Given that God has supernatural potentials, I do not think that it could take humans such a long period to come up with such discoveries if human knowledge comes from God.

Descartes: Well, I think you need to understand three events that are involved in the lives of humans I relation to knowledge. First, you need to know that the soul can manage to comprehend corporeal things when united with the body. Second, you need to know order and mode of understanding (Aquinas, 1981). Lastly, you need to comprehend what human intellect knows in immaterial things. Understanding these three elements are vital in revealing the role that God plays in human knowledge.

Socrates: Okay, I request that you elaborate the three elements for me.

Descartes: All right friend. You should know that the soul recognizes bodies via intellect by means of knowledge, which is universal, immaterial, and necessary. However, it is only God who has the ability to comprehend all things. Besides, the cognitive mind possesses the ability to develop principles of comprehending concepts of sensation. Therefore, individual objects of human knowledge are not acquired from platonic forms but from God’s mind. In relation to this, intellectual knowledge or wisdom is established by a conjunction of active intellect and passive senses (Aquinas, 1981). As such, it is difficult for the intellect to comprehend anything in the absence of mental images. Therefore, the intellect understands or comprehends by means of abstracting from mental images, which enables it to attain some understanding of immaterial things. On the contrary, the human understanding of events is not similar to the mental images or phantasms. In addition, contingent events or objects are recognized by the intellect only. Although God has the power to know events of the future, humans have the understanding of causes and effects as result of the soul’s intervention (Aquinas, 1981). In the real sense, human’s soul comes from God which helps in revealing the role of God in human knowledge.

Socrates: Thank you friend. You have provided me with a detailed information on what I did not know. Have a nice day.

Descartes: Welcome and have a nice day too.


Aquinas, T. (1981). Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press.

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