Plato imagined that there existed an ideal or perfect world beyond our own physical earth. Our earthly world is full of unevenness, imperfections, and impurities which have been copied from the true ideal world which is beyond us. Plato further believed that our physical world and its Forms participate or imitate the real Forms in a disorderly way. He claimed that there was a relationship between the realm of Forms and our world. This relationship revealed to us mortals the forms and brought order to life.
Aristotle objected to Plato’s view, arguing that one cannot know the type of interaction which is occurring between the two Forms. If the “real or ideal forms” are eternal, pure and unchanging then how do they relate to the material objections or Forms on earth with all their physical imperfections? This participation or imitation link between the real and the imaginary (which Plato claimed existed) is erroneous thinking as no one can/has established such a link – real or otherwise. And even if a link is established it fails to explain all the Forms in the material world. At some point Plato fails to explain how this greater Form was controlled- how can Form control things? Was there energy in “Forms”?
Aristotle’s assumption of the Theory of Forms was intimately integrated with his belief that we develop some type of biological and scientific wisdom of a primary substance (be it plant, animal, rock, etc) only when we know what are usually called its “causes.” The Greek word, aitia, which is translated as “causes,” is probably better rendered as “that which explains.” What that means is that our knowledge of something only occurs once we have ascertained why the “thing” is there and what its uses are (the primitive scientific method).
Thus, if the essence of being a humanoid includes being a biped, we are able to explain our two legs by appeal to the form of humanness which is in us. So knowledge of the form or essence is in effect knowledge of the...
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