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explain platos theory of the forms

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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