Strengths and criticisms of Plato’s theories

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Strengths and criticisms of Plato's theories
Strengths
Key message ­ world around us is illusion and true reality is far more valuable lies
beyond our experience ­ could have validity ­ a persons character is more important
than physical appearances.
Death, disease are imperfections St Augustine argued that such imperfections do
not need to have Forms because they do not really exist ­ instead they are just an
absence of something else ­ death is the absence of life.
The lack of physical evidence for the Forms shows that they are immaterial ­
therefore do not exist in our realm so could exist in an invisible world.
We have an intuitive knowledge of `goodness' and `justice'
Weaknesses
Proof of Forms ­ argument only valid as the concept of Forms on which it depends ­
empirical evidence
If no Forms ­ then cave analogy is meaningless
Infinite number of Forms
Forms of unpleasant things like death disease and violence ­ given the greater reality
of the Forms, these would be far worse than the earthly examples of them.
Plato's view that the Forms are more real than the visible world ­ it can be argued that
something is either real or isn't ­ therefore it makes no sense to say Forms are more
real.
Plato's understanding of reality can also be questioned ­ many people would
consider that something that exists is more `real' than something which is not
(money/ontological argument)
Just because we have an understanding of what `beauty' is does not mean there has
to be a separate Form of beauty on a different realm.
We might be happy to accept that there are `ideal concepts' in maths like infinity or a
prime number. We might be happy to accept that we have `ideal concepts' of qualities
such as Truth, Justice, Generosity and Goodness. It is harder to accept the forms of
negative qualities like Jealousy or Spite.
Infinite number of Forms ­ if we have a separate Form of each individual species of
rose plants (548) ­
Plato was ambiguous about whether there is a Form of everything
A.J Ayer argued that when we talk of something good/bad we are simply expressing
our emotional reaction to it and not referring to any real knowledge
Aristotle argued that there cannot be a single Form of the Good because goodness
always relates to specific action, situations and people.
Only those of certain intellectual calibre are capable of accessing philosophical
knowledge ­ essentially unfair and elitist approach ­ not everyone would agree that
philosophers are always more moral than the less intellectually gifted.
Many would disagree with Plato's view that people only do wrong when they are
ignorant of what is right. ­ People know perfectly well that something is morally wrong
­ but they go ahead and do it anyway. ­ however ­ cultural relativism ­ cannibals
awareness of goodness changes ­ cannot reflect the Form of Good

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Hair straighteners /dinosaurs ­ how do we get new Forms? Do Forms die out
(noeternal and they are CONCEPTS NOT OBJECTS)…read more

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