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

Plato's Theory of Forms

Extracts from this document...


Plato's Theory of Forms a) Explain Plato's theory of Forms In many of his dialogues, Plato mentions supra-sensible entities he calls "Forms" (or "Ideas"). So, for example, in the Phaedo, we are told that particular sensible equal things-for example, equal sticks or stones are equal because of their "participation" or "sharing" in the character of the Form of Equality, which is absolutely, changelessly, perfectly, and essentially equal. Plato sometimes characterizes this participation in the Form as a kind of imaging, or approximation of the Form. Plato believed that behind everything there was an unseen reality called a 'Form'. A form is basically an idea of something, for example; there is a form of beauty, and there is a form of a cat. People have a different idea of beauty but they all recognise it as beauty. The form of beauty is different from our ideas of what beauty is, it exists separately from that and separately from their particulars. Plato described the Forms as what philosophers look for whilst looking for the truth. ...read more.


When we see a red chair we recollect the form of red from our past knowledge of the soul. These forms are abstract ideas that hold true throughout each soul and are something that the physical body can never know. Since we only have an idea of these forms, we can never experience a true form with our senses. Our senses give us an understanding of the physical world at any given moment, but the physical world is constantly changing, so our senses can never let us experience the world as it truly is. Our senses can only let us experience how the world as we know it in a particular moment. The soul acts as a container for this knowledge and keeps it through each bodily life. One argument against these ideas is that the soul would not be strong enough to survive the destruction of the body. This cannot be true, as the soul directly controls the motions of the body; for the soul can will the body in any way it chooses and may oppose the body at any point. ...read more.


According to Plato "The forms are not concepts in the mind, but are existing realities apart from the mind. The forms are eternal and immutable". Forms are imperfectly reflected in human affairs, and language limits us in how we can explain these forms. The forms are "out there" somewhere. The world from which these forms are described to come from is not one that can be viewed by the human eye but is visible as pattern. We can believe in the existence of ideal standards without claiming to possess them. The belief in an absolute that we do not possess is often the best way to understand the concept of it. To show, how the theory could be convincing. Every person has an idea of what perfection is, however can never match this perfection. In the theory of forms it states that our souls have been to this place and so we have the knowledge but it lays dormant or unreachable in our minds. This backs up the fact that human perfection can never be matched. Thus making the theory convincing."The forms are not concepts in the mind, but are existing realities" meaning there is another 'world' in which these forms are active and real. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous 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 GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. The world, our Utopia?

    Without things like terrorism although terrorism is a very bad thing you would be messing with free will to take it away and enforce a fair justice system and global peace.

  2. Environmental Philosophy Reflection

    However, a major flaw is that the people have to pay more for using renewable resources than using non-renewable resources. (A hydrogen car is more expensive than a petroleum car.) Hence, we can say that the market prices set for products don't include the costs that future generations will have

  1. Design Argument

    As for Hume, there are also some flaws in his ideas. He said that God had given up on our world and has wandered off to create a better one. If God didn't exist, then maybe human life will already be extinct by now.

  2. Concepts of Beauty in Philosophy

    However, the definitions of contemplation differ. It is believed that Plato and Plotinus meant contemplation as a kind of meditation that involves focusing on an object or being. Aristotle believed that there are not two worlds and this was more sympathetic towards beauty and art.

  1. Muslims and the west: a never ending conflict.

    Haqqani also states that "relations between Muslims and the west will continue to deteriorate unless the internal crisis of the Muslim world is also addressed (Haqqani)", implying that he believes that the only way of resolving the conflict between Islam and the west is by tackling the obstacles within the Islamic community itself.

  2. Platonic Forms

    It is always five feet minus two inches. A change is always a change from something A to something else B, and A and B cannot themselves be things that change. Heraclitus was also a philosopher, who lived 200 years before Plato, and became famous for saying, 'It is not possible to step in the same river twice'.

  1. Free essay

    Plato theory of forms

    A major criticism of Plato's form theory is that there is no evidence that form exist However others disagree saying that Plato's theory of forms is of some use. When Plato says that we need to access the true reality it questions what we already think and encourages us to

  2. Would it matter if you were swapped with a clone?

    my future decisions, as the cliché goes, “you always learn from your mistakes”. On a religious side, there are two passages in the Bible that bear directly on the issue of men playing God. The first is in Genesis, when Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of

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