• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

explain platos theory of the forms

Extracts from this document...


AO1: Explain Plato's theory of the forms Plato gave detailed explanation of his Theory of Forms over a writing career of some forty years. The theory was being refined over this period and is never fully explained in any one dialogue. So any explanation of the theory involved piecing together fragments as they appear throughout Plato's writing. The theory basically is the existence of a level of reality or "world" inhabited by the ideal forms of all things and concepts. A form exists, for objects like tables and chair and for concepts, such as beauty and justice. The forms are eternal and changeless. However in contrast, the ever changing temporal world can only be a source of opinion. ...read more.


One prisoner's journey out of the cave is seen to Plato as the ascent to the knowledge. He sees the escape as a philosophers attempt to reach the world of the forms. The outside world is a representation of the world of the forms which in Plato's eyes is the real world. Plato sees the sun as a form of the good, and the return to the prisoners in the cave, as the philosopher to share the reality of the world of the forms. Whilst the forms are invisible to the eye, our souls have participated in the eternal world of forms prior to being incarnate in a physical body, and retain a memory of them. ...read more.


Another critisms of Plato's theory is that he believes that this higher level of reality in the realm of the forms to be self evident. In contrast we might argue that it is not self evident to us. The appearance of the wall is real enough if you walk into one! Whereas the ideal form of a cat does not seem it have much reality even as a concept. Finally the last critism of Plato's theories is that he believes that the highest of all forms of knowledge is an understanding of the form of the good, which he holds to be absolute. This encourages the question "how are we to know what goodness is?" if Plato is correct, surely we would all agree on what is good? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Explain Plato's Theory of Forms

    need to look at the first two of the properties that characterize the forms. The forms are transcendent. This means that they do not exist in space and time. A material object, a basketball, exists at a particular place at a particular time.

  2. Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul.

    without something there would be nothing else!). Plato's belief of the body and soul are similar to his ideas about duality. He believed that the human body was made up of different components: the physical body, the mind and the immortal soul.

  1. Explain Plato's allegory of the cave

    With his knew found knowledge the prisoner feels sorry for the others in the cave, he knows now that their skills and perceptions are useless in the real world. He decides to go back down and tell them what he has learned, much like when some one learns something that will benefit others they want to 'spread the news'.

  2. Explain Plato's theory of forms.

    those that believe in the senses and opinion are involved in the "Visible World". For Plato, knowing the forms was a kind of mental seeing or a vision of truth.

  1. The allegory of the cave - Plato's theory of forms

    The prisoner would find it hard to walk and would find the bright light of the fire, in the cave entrance, painful to look at; this is otherwise known as aporia. The sight of the statues would confuse him, and everything he had known or believed in since childhood.

  2. Plato's Theory of Forms

    Forms have a greater reality than objects in the physical both because of their perfection and unchangingness, and because they are models. As ideals, they give ordinary physical objects whatever reality they have, because of the ways in which the physical objects resemble the Forms, just like the shadows in

  1. Free essay

    Discuss Plato's Theory of Forms

    The beliefs about things and scientific knowledge are found in the 4th section. All physical things are also here. All knowledge here is verifiable through observation, and is rationally supported. The involvement of human beings in the two realms is further explained by 'The Allegory of the Cave'.

  2. "Explain Plato's Analogy of the Cave" and Platos Theory of Forms tells us little ...

    humans are born with no knowledge at all and that they acquire it through experience throughout their lifetime. Questions about how we acquire our beliefs come under the branch of Philosophy called Epistemology. A real life example that supports John Locke?s idea is found in cases of feral children.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work