Plato's theory of the forms

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Plato's theory of the forms

  • Everything in this world changes
  • There must be a world where things are unchanging (world of forms)
  • Everything we experience in this world is a poor immitation of the real world 
  • We recognise many types of beauty in the world as we have an underlying idea of what beauty is= form of beauty
  • For Plato, this is the true form of beauty which exists in the world of the forms
  • Plato says that the particulars (e.g a particular beautiful person) are imperfect copies of the forms
  • Beauty in this world changes proving it is just an imperfect reflection of the real form
  • Humans recognise these things as a vague recollection from prior existence in our world of the forms
  • As there are so many forms there must be a Form of the Forms
  • Supreme form= 'Form of Goodness'
  • The form of the good is the form of all other forms
  • This is because everything has goodness in it
  • All perfections flow down from the form of Goodness
  • Just as the sun is presented in the analogy of the cave, giving light to the real world, so the Form of Good illuminates the other Forms
  • Knowledge of the Good is the highest knowledge a human being is capable of 
  • A philosopher can escape the material world with their mind (reason) and see the forms that lie behind the material world= true leaders of society 
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