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explain platos theory of forms

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Introduction

Explain Plato's Theory of Forms At the heart of Plato's philosophy is his Theory of Forms, or the Theory of Ideas as it is also known. As well as the material world in which we live and experience, there is another, eternal world or concept of the Forms. This eternal world is more real than the world we experience through the senses, and is the object of knowledge, not opinion. The world of sensual experience is in a constant state of flux. Plato believed that the answer to this question was that there is certain truth, but that this material world cannot reveal it. It can only present appearances, which lead us to form opinions, rather than knowledge. The truth is to be found elsewhere, on a different plane, in the non-material world of Ideas or Forms. For Plato, in order for something to be real, it had to be permanent or unchanging. ...read more.

Middle

They all share something of the Form of the Frog. Plato developed this idea further by claiming that, in the world of the Forms, there is an ideal Frog, created by God. The frogs we see as we go about our daily lives are inferior, superficial versions of the Ideal Frog. They are constantly changing, they are born, and they die; whereas the Ideal Frog is eternal and unchanging, and is the subject of knowledge not opinion. Another method used to help people understand the Theory of Forms, is to consider it in terms of mathematics. For example, a circle is a two dimensional shape with a series of points arranged around a centre. This is not a matter of opinion, but something we know. No one has actually ever seen a perfect circle. A perfect circle could not be seen; the infinite points which make up its circumference do not take up any space, they exist in logic rather than in a physical form. ...read more.

Conclusion

we recognise them as good when we see them because of the way in which they correspond to our innate notion of the Form of the Good. By Plato's logic, the real knowledge becomes, in the end, a knowledge of goodness; and this is why philosophers are in the best position to rule. Plato developed his theory of Forms to the point where he divided the existence of the world into two realms. There is the world of sense experience (the empirical world), where nothing ever stays the same but is always in the process of change. Experience of it gives rise to opinions. There is also a world which is outside space and time, which is not perceived through the senses, and in which everything is permanent and perfect or Ideal- the realm of the Forms. The empirical world shows only shadows and poor copies of these Forms, and so is less real than the world of the Forms themselves, because the Forms are eternal and unchanging, the proper objects of knowledge. ...read more.

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