Plato's Concept of 'the Forms'

Topics: Epistemology, Platonism, Aristotle Pages: 2 (615 words) Published: February 21, 2013
Plato was believed to have been a dualist, he believed in two worlds: The World of Appearances and The World of Forms. In his opinion, the world we currently live in is what he would have called the World of Appearances. Everything we sense, feel, touch, smell, etc is 'real'. Yet Plato thought that these sense deceived us. He said as everything in the world is in a state of flux/change, it is an unreliable source of what is considered 'real'. Plato believed a lot of what we see is based on opinion, he saw that opinion was also subject to change and thus is an unreliable source of true knowledge.

Plato argued that we are able to recognise the forms of many different things, for example dogs, tables and many other things. In the case of these objects we can argue that we learnt the forms by name and with different views on variations of the form, we are merely comparing the new objects to all the other objects we have learnt to give name to. On the other hand, the case of beauty is much more complicated, as is the case of justice and love and many others, as how can we possibly know what these actually are? This is where the World of Forms comes into action.

The World of Forms, in Plato's mind, was a world where a transient material copy of a perfect and immaterial idea from the world of appearances originated from. The forms are permanent. The world they exist in is the world of the eternal, the blessed world where nothing ever changes. The World of Forms exists before we enter the world of appearances and where we learn; good, love, justice, etc. Plato believed everyone on earth came from this world and that everyone had met prior to our current existence. The World of Forms was a world where we were given the knowledge we needed in this life. The world contained perfect forms of everything, all that had been and all that will be - the perfect idea or the very quintessential essence of a thing. The highest form in Plato's view was the form of good. The form...
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