Plato and Aristotle

  • Created by: holly
  • Created on: 20-12-11 13:40


you should know;

  • the concept of the forms ,especially the form of good

  • the analogy of the cave

  • the concept of body soul distinction

Theory of the forms:


plato believed that the world that we saw around us was just an illusion created by our senses. These senses are deceived by appearances and are therefore unreliable, they can never give us true knowledge. True knowledge can only be gained trhough the use of our minds by rational through enables us to access the realm of true reality which lies beyond the senses.

The theory

  • plato believed that behind every concept or object in the visible world, there is an unseen reality which he calls its form. You can imagine these as ideal blueprints for the particular earthly examples of beauty and trees. Plato calls theses particulars.

  • Forms exists in their own right the world of the form not jus ideas created by people's minds and they exists seperatley from there particulars. Eg: The form of beauty exists sepeartley both from our ideas about beauty and from beautiful individuals.

  • Forms are the source of all knowledge, the forms are infinitely more real that their particulars which only appear to exist and therefore are pale reflection of the forms/ideals.

  • The forms are not made up of or dependent upon physical matter. Forms must be totally cnsistent, eternal and unchanging. Although different from the visible world the forms nervertheless relate to it. Unlike the forms the particulars depend on physical matter and are changeable.

  • We can recognise and classify things like a cat in the visible world because we have some awareness if this in our minds so we can see the resembelance to the form eg: a cat.

  • So how can we be aware of these forms without our senses? Each human has an immortal soul that had access to the forms before it was implanted in the body. This gives us innate knowledge of them that can be developed through rational thought whichh enables the soul to recall memorys

  • different forms are all connected to eachother with a fixed importance. Most imporatnt of all is the Form of Good which is central to the existence of the whole universe. It is a principle of order which structures the other forms giving each one its own nature without this form there would be no ideal of beauty or justice and so on. Which can be compared to the sun giving life to all things and illuminating them.

  • The form of good gives rise to all knowledge enabling us to recognise the other forms. Highest task of philosopher is to gain knowledge of good.

The analogy of the cave:


what it symbolises

  • emphasises the difference between the appearance of the world and the reality behind this appearance

  • prisoners represent ordinary people who have nt yet discovered true knowledge. They have been deceived by what they see and believing there is nothing beyond this shadow play. Our senses convince us




Do we really need to know about Plato And Aristotle in so much detail? Are you with OCR?



yes im doing ocr and for me personally it is because notoriously the plato and aristotle questions come up every year and they are a pretty solid subject to revise as they come in really handy. THE MORE YOU KNOW THE BETTER IT IS but it doesnt matter if you dont know all of this this is including wider reading :) 

Alissa Harrington


You must have used the OCR edition nelson thornes philosophy of religion book to make these notes. It's such a good text book, I'm revising from that aswell. Great notes btw