Plato and Aristotle on Form and Matter

794 Words Feb 1st, 2018 3 Pages
To Plato, the ideal was the immanescent substance in the matter. It was always there even when the matter had expired. It was something that the matter could cling to and, sometimes, become like. It was the potential of the matter. To exemplify: the acorn tree was the matter. The 'acornness' (or the potential for the tree to grow into the category of acorn tree) was the Form inherent within that matter. The Form is on a higher ontological level than the matter since the Form is always there, eternal, unchanging. Matter, on the other hand, comes into existence, changes, is malleable, and expires.
There is also one Form to all categories, but particular matters to each. For instance, the category of Dogs has one form Dogness. Each dog, however, has her own type, shape, character, attributes, personality, and so forth. Each dog has her own Matter. Together, however, the category of Dogs participates of Dogness.
All Matter, too, can never live up to, or obtain, their perfect essence of Form since Form is of the metaphysical, therefore, ideal, whilst Matter is of this world, therefore, finite and limited. To explain this, Plato often provides the example of a perfect triangle whose three-sided figure is mathematically, supposed to possess angles that add up to 180 degrees. Nonetheless, no perfect triangle can ever…
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