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Plato's Theory of Forms

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Introduction

Plato's Theory of Forms By Hayley Sheath, 12MF Qu.1. A] Explain Plato's concept of the Forms. B] Evaluate carefully Forms as a way of understanding the world. Plato, Socrates' famous pupil, created the Theory of Forms. This essay will explore the ideas of Plato's theory, the strengths and weaknesses of his thoughts, and how they affect our understanding of the world. The Theory of Forms states that everything has a Form- whether it is a chair, a bed, an animal etc; absolutely everything has a Form. Plato also states that 'Forms are perfection'. Plato says there are four Forms for ethical values; these are Truth, Justice, Beauty, and Goodness. Plato believes there is a hierarchy of Forms, with the Form of Goodness being at the top. Plato believes that True Knowledge comes from knowing the four values, and using them to achieve Ultimate Reality. ...read more.

Middle

Saint- Exupery agrees with this by saying 'What is essential is invisible to the eye'. Plato suggests there is another reality, a reality that is invisible and beyond our senses. Plato says that facts (sight, touch, smell etc) assist in Forms, for example, we look at things to see if they are good. However, Plato says senses are unreliable and relative, and do not give an absolute view on anything. Plato's 'Analogy of the Cave' also explains that although everyone knows the Forms, many refuse to accept them as it can take away the security of illusions, and the world as you know it. Plato believes Forms cannot be taught, only valued, and utilized. Plato's Theory of Forms has had many criticisms, one being that it is not really a theory. It relies on the 'Analogy of the Cave' to support and explain its' details. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way we believe things are true, is by using our senses. This suggests that the way we understand the world is untrustworthy and false, as it is based on unreliable sources. Another strong point is how many of us are secure in our world, and do not want to believe another world exists. We are comfortable in believing what surrounds us is true, and do not want our reality to be shattered. Overall, Plato's theory is complicated and based on the fact that everything has a Form, and we all have an innate knowledge of Forms. Plato's theory is criticised because it is unclear and imprecise, with little evidence to back it up. Nevertheless, it offers us a different way of thinking and a new light to see things. We have no idea whether it is true- how can we really know anything? Plato's Theory of Forms is comprehendible and definitely possible and allows us to broaden our mind and consider another reality. ...read more.

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