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Ideals are illusions; we can only experience what is real. Discuss.

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´╗┐Ideals are illusions; we can only experience what is real. Discuss. This statement has an assumption that ?reality? must be tangible as Plato?s Theory of Ideals mainly deal with intangible concepts like Beauty, Truth and Justice. He was not really interested in tangible objects although theoretically, everything, whether tangible or not, has an Ideal. In order to discuss this statement, we need to understand what does ?reality? really mean. Some people believe that a particular is only ?real? if it is tangible, while others, including Plato, believe that a particular does not have to be tangible to be ?real?. Plato believed that Ideals are the purest and highest reality as they are everlasting and unchanging; therefore this statement clearly opposes what Plato believed. In fact, Plato believed that what we can experience sensually in our World of Appearances are illusions, just like the shadows that the prisoners believe to be real in his Analogy of the Cave. ...read more.


If he could experience love, then it must be real. If the reflection of the Ideal of Love is real, then the Ideal of Love itself must be a reality instead of an illusion. On the other hand, some people might agree with the statement, as they believe that Plato?s Theory of Ideals is not logical. One reason is that there is no empirical proof for the existence of Ideals. Therefore they are only illusions even though we cannot disprove it. This is because if we take everything we cannot disprove as reality, our world would be swamped with fantasy. Most people do not believe in the existence of unicorns and pixies; however, we cannot disprove their existence either. This argument is also compatible with Bertrand Russell?s Analogy of the Teapot. Another criticism of the Theory of Ideals is that Plato assumes a universal definition for everything, but surely everything is relative. For example, some people might think a particular piece of artwork is beautiful while others might think it is ugly. ...read more.


The concept of Beauty does not exist beyond our observation of it. Therefore, Ideals do not exist and we can only experience things that are real. People should just take the world as it is instead of overcomplicating it. In conclusion, I do not agree with the statement. Although intangible concepts such as beauty and justice are often quite subjective, there are some concepts that are more objective, such as love and friendship. Everyone has experienced love and friendship and surely it is impossible to say that what we experienced are merely illusions, seeing that they shape our very beings and linger on even when one dies. There is really more to life than just this. ?Love? is more than just a noun. Moreover, Plato did say that we could not fully comprehend the World of Forms. If this is the case, it would be unfair to say that Ideals are illusions. It is just like Christians will not say that God is an illusion even though no one can ever fully understand God. ...read more.

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