Explain Plato’s concept of the forms and the particular importance of the form of good. (25)
Plato originally thought of the forms because of the concept of beauty. Although we see objects and think that they are beautiful, we never ‘beauty’. Also many different things can be beautiful, but in different ways but they all still have one thing in common, beauty. This leads to Plato concluding that there must be something which is ‘beauty’ that all of these things get it from. This idea of a universal thing that more than one thing can have was the first thought that lead Plato to the forms. Plato also believed that beauty and the thing itself are separate, so although the thing can be destroyed the beauty will not. So some things ‘share’ in the forms whereas some ‘participate’. Plato’s theory of the forms also derives from the fact that he does not believe that this empirical world is all there is. He was a dualist, which means that he believes that there is a spiritual world, like souls, as well as a material world. These two realms are called the realm of reality and the realm of apperances. In the material world everything is always changing and dying, however, souls are eternal and unchanging. The realm of souls runs parallel to this world. For Plato the realm of souls is like the forms. Plato’s ideas of the forms are perfect ideas or types of things. The forms were not created and they do not do anything. The forms are timeless, unchanging and beyond space. However, we only know the forms through our intelligence and reason, you cannot actually physicially see them because they are in the realm of forms which Is not achievable by all humans. The way we see the forms is through imperfect copies, like the shadows in the Plato’s analogy of the cave. The reason we can work out what the forms are is from our previous life as our souls lived in different bodies and worlds. Our birth was so traumatic we shut all of our memories from previous lives out. When we...
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