Plato's Two-World Theory

Topics: Reality, Theory, Ontology Pages: 3 (989 words) Published: June 1, 2010
How Plato Used His Two-Worlds Theory As an Argument Against
the Three Predominant Pre-Socratic Theories on Reality
One of the ongoing quests in human history is the search for what is reality composed of and what can one use to determine what is real and what is merely an illusion or perhaps part of a false reality. This search can be traced back as far as some of the pre-Socratic philosophers. The three more popular theories that were around came from three pre-Socratic philosophers, Heraclitus, Protagoras, and Parmenides. All three philosophers had a theory of what reality is composed of and what the ultimate reality is. Plato came along and more or less combined the three theories into one larger theory that is now called Plato’s Two-Worlds Theory.

Plato’s Two-Worlds Theory is a relatively simple theory. Plato suggests that there are two worlds, or realms. The first world is perfect and is referred to as the World of Being. The second world is the imperfect world, called the World of Becoming. The two realms are separate from each other; however, there is a connection that exists between the two worlds. The only way that the World of Becoming can be connected to the World of Being is through participation. The World of Becoming is inhabited by all tangible objects. The World of Being contains something that Plato refers to as Forms. Forms are essentially ideas, but there are four requirements that must be met in order to classify something as a Form. A Form must be eternal, perfect, transcendent, and objective. This means that an object cannot be in the World of Being, but an object being that object, such as a Douglas fir being a tree. The tree cannot be in the World of Being, but treeness is; therefore, the Douglas fir is participating in the World of Being which is the one connection between the two worlds described in Plato’s theory. This theory was used as a rebuttal against other theories of Heraclitus, Protagoras, and Parmenides....
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