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

Critically assess Platos claim that there are forms, with particular, but not exclusive to Aristotles objections to them.

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked Critically assess Plato?s claim that there are forms, with particular, but not exclusive to Aristotle?s objections to them? Plato argued that the most important varieties of human knowledge are really cases of recollection. Consider our knowledge of equality. We easily decide whether or not two things are of perfectly equal in length. However they are never exactly the same length, since we recognize that it would always be possible to discover some difference, no matter how small with a more precise measurement. By this knowledge, all of the examples we perceive in ordinary life only ever approach perfect equality. But since we realize the truth of this important qualification on our experience, we must somehow know for sure what true equality is, even though we have never seen it. Plato then went further with this argument saying the same point could be made with in regard to many other concepts, such things as beauty and truth. These examples are called Platonic forms; they are abstract entities that exist independently of the sensible world. ...read more.


All objects have matter and the form is the way in which they are arranged. However the form can be seen as more important because it makes an object what it is. It is also the form of a thing that we know when we have knowledge of it. To know an object is to know their form. This is what makes them what they are. This can explain change, as change occurs when the same matter is arranged in different ways. On the other hand, Plato uses the allegory of the cave to further push his point across. According to Plato, the world outside the cave represents the world of forms while the shadows on the wall represent objects in the physical world. The escape of the prisoner represents philosophical enlightenment and the realization that forms are the true reality. Most people are like the prisoners in the cave. They think the shadows are reality. Philosophers, though, are like the man who escapes the cave and sees the real world. They have true knowledge. ...read more.


Blue jeans and the sky resemble each other as they are copies of the form of blue. But this resemblance between the blue object and the form of blueness must also be explained in terms of another form. However, what form does a blue object and the form of blueness both copy to cause their similarity. This leads to infinite regression. Another form will always be need beyond the one that was proposed, so the theory of the forms cannot explain the similarity of objects. Further difficulties drawn out of the form involve ideals, for example what is an ideal animal? Is there an ideal of every different type of animal or just one general ideal? Can there be ideals of bad things such as an ideal b**b or an ideal disease. Overall, Plato?s claims that there are forms are backed up by evidences from the allegory of the cave and the divided line. However, to me, Aristotle?s theory of Corpuscularianism and how all form is shaped of matter which can be shaped in many different ways seems more assailable; also Plato himself recognized many chinks in his own armor with the third man argument, leading to the weakening of his original ideology. ...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 and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul.

    He thought that propositions derived from sensory experience have, at most, a degree of probability; they are not certain. Pure knowledge may only be derived from certain, permanent facts. The argument is really that not only do the things we perceive change, but so do the circumstances in which we perceive them.

  2. Aristotle - Forms of Cause and Causality

    This is only with the Final Cause, though. In the case of the other causes (material, efficient and formal), once the object is in existence their purpose, in effect, has been fulfilled. In the case of humans, once a baby is created, its material cause (skin, bones etc.), efficient cause (its parents, childbirth)

  1. Explain Plato's allegory of the cave

    to light and the real objects will appear less real than the shadows he originally knew, this will confuse the prisoners, why has he been released to experience pain and puzzlement? This represents the confusion people feel when they first open their minds to new philosophical ideas, the ideas may

  2. Explain Plato's theory of forms.

    The parable of the cave reflects this. Plato explained this with the philosopher who escaped the cave or "World of appearances" and saw the "World of forms". He saw everything was much clearer than what he saw in the cave.

  1. Explain Plato's Theory of Forms

    and 'what is beauty?' had a sort of universal existence, a reality of their own. When we call something beautiful, we do this because we have an innate knowledge of True Beauty, or the Form of Beauty. These things we see in the world around us, beauty and justice, is always imperfect.

  2. Plato's Theory of Forms

    The world of changing, material objects (the visible world) is merely a fleeting image of the intelligible world--what Plato calls the realm of the Forms. Physical objects are real only insofar as they are intelligible, but they can be intelligible only in terms of that which does not change.

  1. Explain Platos analogy of the cave

    As knowledge is only possible in the Realm of ideas the Philosopher (ex-prisoner) does not remain in the world of ideas, but comes back to his fellow men (prisoners in the cave) and tries to show them that the world of truth awaits them if they will only listen to

  2. Explain Plato's Theory of Forms

    Forms can be seen by the mind or soul?s eye through the medium of knowledge provided by the Form of the Good which why he argues that the Form of the Good enables us to understand things.

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