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Explain Platos concept of the Forms. To what extent is it true to say that the forms teach us nothing about the physical world?

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Philosophy Essay Milestone a) Explain Plato's concept of the 'Forms'. (25) b) To what extent is it true to say that the forms teach us nothing about the physical world? (10) a) Plato's concept of Forms is a long winded and complicated affair however it was and still is a huge pillar in the development of modern philosophy. Plato himself was a dualist, which means that he believed in two 'distinct elements' of the body, being the mind or soul, and the physical body, in which the mind is completely immaterial. These are the core beginnings of Plato's concept of the Forms. The 'Forms' themselves are basically a person's idea of the perfect 'Form' of an object. For example, if we look at a chair, we look at it and instantly know that it is a chair. However it is not that simple. According to Plato's concept of the Forms, when we look at a chair, we instantly compare it to the Form of a chair, and if the object we are looking at (called the Particular) ...read more.


Identifying the images on the screen becomes difficult for him after being outside, and the rest of the prisoners mock him for it. They assume that going outside is a terrible thing, because it has damaged his ability to see the shadows. This analogy is key to our understanding of Plato's concept of the Forms. In the cave there are two settings, the cave and the outside of the cave. The cave can be seen as the world of appearances, and the outside world can be the world the forms. The prisoners themselves can be seen as the majority of the population of the world; people who take what they see and assume that that is all there is to life, and don't desire to look into it any further. All of the shadows seen on the screen in the cave by the prisoners are particulars, as they are the fake reality that the prisoners are seeing, and the objects (tree's, bushes, flowers) outside the cave can be seen as forms. The prisoner who escapes from the cave can be seen as a philosopher. ...read more.


He tells us how everything in the world of the forms is perfect, and that nothing in the physical world can touch it. He suggests that the physical world is just a distraction, or scapegoat from the 'real' world which is hidden to us. Does this teach us anything about the physical world, or does it just question our beliefs as to the world we live in? Unfortunately, it is the latter. Plato never writes about how we can see the physical world differently, or how we can understand or gain more knowledge of the physical world, he only writes about how we can try to acknowledge a different world, or realm in which all perfect things exist. In a way, he's trying to convince us that we should live truthfully in our world by accepting that it is just being judges by the perfections of another. This does not in any way, shape or form develop our understanding of the physical world itself. Even thought Plato's theory of the forms is very interesting and thought provoking, it is however of very little use when it comes to gaining more knowledge and understanding about the physical world in which we live in. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 ...read more.

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