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Explain Plato's theory of forms with reference to the analogy of the cave

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Introduction

´╗┐Explain Plato?s theory of the Forms with reference to the analogy of the Cave. (25) Plato was a dualist. He believed that there were two realms, one of ideas (known as Forms) and one of matter (the physical world). Plato believed that there was the existence of the world of forms which is unchanging and perfect as well as our material world of appearances which is constantly changing and imperfect. Plato used his analogy of the cave to explain this, through example of the prisoner escaping to find the shadows and then the outside world. Plato tried to explain that our world is like a cave, in which we are chained facing a wall and we only see the 'shadows' of the true Forms; so ...read more.

Middle

When the prisoner in the analogy of the cave had seen the fire behind them, and escaped into the outer world, he realised that his ?world? in the cave was transient and the outside world was in-fact the permanent world that had been there all along. Plato explained that just as the prisoner?s transient world ended, our world of appearances will too, but the world of forms will remain. In Plato?s theory of forms, he described everything we know and all concepts in our world to be imperfect and temporary. His idea of Ideal forms means that all concepts and all that we may recognise to be beautiful or to be in a certain way, is in-fact a imperfect imitation. ...read more.

Conclusion

A single form can appear in many different aspects of life e.g the beauty form may be present in the lady, but it may also be present in a sunset. Plato would say that the only reason why we can recognise and classify things in the visible world is because they bear resemblance to the forms. Plato was sure that everyone had knowledge about the forms, but the forms were beyond our senses, and that our immortal soul somehow has access to the forms before entering our bodies, thus giving us a vague knowledge of the concepts surrounding us. Plato states that when we identify things we are recollecting memories from our soul. However, all we may identify in this material world is not the actual form, but would have characteristics of the form, hence making it recognisable for us. ...read more.

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