Explain Platos Concept of Forms (25 marks)

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Explain Plato’s concept of Forms (25 marks)

Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher whose ideas were influenced by his teacher, Socrates. Plato believed in Socrates’ idea that in order to be moral, you have to have true knowledge. Plato said that true knowledge cannot be gained empirically from the world around us, the material word. Rather it needs to be gained through reasoning.  He believed in another realm, the World of Forms where there is true knowledge and our world- the Material World or World of Appearances where everything is an illusion.

Plato’s view was that we cannot gain knowledge through the experiences we have through our senses. This is because the world is constantly changing and so our senses cannot be trusted. He said that true knowledge is innate- gained through the mind rather than the senses. Innate knowledge is something we have from birth e.g. we know that 1 plus 1 equals 2.

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Plato was also a dualist. This means he believed that the body and soul exist separately. The body is temporary and the soul has always existed. Our innate knowledge comes from when our soul pre-existed in the World of Forms before it entered the body. We remember the concepts of things which is why we can recognise that for example, a dog has 4 legs and a tail.

Plato’s dualistic views led him to come up with his idea of two different realms. The World of Forms or the Realm of Reality is perfect, unchanging and does not decay, it ...

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