HideShow resource information

Plato's Theory of Forms

  • The distinction that you recognise something at for Plato was crucial, as he believed that the world we live in us a world of appearances but the real world is a world of ideas that he calls forms. 
  • By form, Plato meant the idea the idea of what a thing is. If we are able to recognise the form of a cat in many different lights, there must be the true form of a cat somewhere; in the world of forms. 
  • Form is unchanging as it is a concept, everlasting so has to exist in a different reality. 
  • He was more concerned with concepts; such as beauty, truth, justice and the Good. These are therefore able to be applied to differnt things; such as the form of beauty being applied to a flower.
  • In this world, there are only shadows and images of the Forms. So objects therefore imitate the forms.
  • When we are born, we have a vague understanding of what Forms are because are sould are immortal. Therefore learning is a matter of remembering. Those who know about Forms are the most suitable people to rule society.
  • For Plato, people do not learn new things; learning is a process of understanding the reality of how things are. 
  • Remembering the form of truth if you learn that lieing is wrong.
  • Most important form is the Form of the Good as goodness is the most important Form.. 
  • In his analogy, the form of the sun as it makes things knowable and is the source of all of the other forms. Enables us to assess and understand things. 
  • Sight requires both light and the eye to see, so light therefore symbolises the form of the good

The Analogy of the Cave

  • Republic
  • Cave is said to be allegorical, different elements of the story are symbolic for the situation where people are. It illustrates his forms yet philosophers debate how to interpret it.
  • People are chained up in a cave, underground. They are all facing the wall and are chained up so they can only look ahead of them at the wall of the cave, the only light comes from a fire. The wall behind the prisoners and there is a fire located directly behing the wall where people are walking up and down carrying statues on their heads. The chained prisoners just tsee the shadows cast by the statues on the wall in front of them. The prisoners believe that the shadows are reality because that is all that they know, so if they hear them they assume the voices come from the shadows. One of the prisoners being freed and first turning around, he will be confused and not understand what he sees. He eventually becomes accustomed to the firelight and is able to see the statues and is in a confused state. Then if he is dragged up towards the sunlight…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all Plato resources »