platos theory of the forms


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Theory of the forms-Plato-cave
Plato's theory of the forms:
TWO WORLDS For Plato there are two words; the eternal world and the material
world. The eternal world possesses the object of knowledge and is more real than the
material world which possesses the object of opinion.
STATE OF FLUX The material world when it is in a constant state of flux and
therefore it is impossible to know the truth of reality - "You cannot step into the same
river twice"
THE REALM OF IDEALS Perfect forms exist in the realm of ideals or forms, which
possess the object of knowledge. Sense perceptions of material objects are simply
objects of opinion, subject to constant change. Knowledge is innate, a recollection of
the perfect forms.
"Her eyes are too close together" ­ we can recognize that she falls short of beauty and
thus understand the concept of beauty, yet we have not ever experienced a perfect
example of beauty.
IMMORTAL SOULS We have concepts of the perfect forms thus our souls must have
known them before we were born (innate, `a priori' knowledge) ­evidence that we have
immortal souls.
A circle is a 2D figure made up of an infinite series of points all the same distance from
the centre. No one has ever seen the perfect form of a circle but instead imperfect
copies, reasonable approximations of the true form. A perfect circle could not be seen
or drawn even if one used the most sophisticated computer equipment. This is because,
in its perfect form, the infinite numbers of points which make up the circumference
don't take up any space as they exist in logic rather than physical form. Yet although
the perfect circle can never be seen, people can define a circle from their soul's
recollection of the true form from the realm of ideas.
REALITY Forms give physical objects what reality they have because of their
resemblance. The shadows in the Allegory of the Cave only had any kind of existence
because of their resemblance to their corresponding physical objects.

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GOODNESS Goodness is the most important form. Like the sun in the Allegory of
the Cave, Good illuminates all the other forms. Justice for example is an aspect of
Goodness.…read more


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