Plato’s Theory of Forms Essay

1719 Words7 Pages
Plato’s Theory of Forms Plato was born, the son of Ariston and Perictione, in about 428 BC. His family, on both sides, was among the most distinguished in Athens. He was born in Athens into a very wealthy family and as a young man was a student of Socrates. Plato is probably one of the best-known philosophers. Plato embarked on a period of extensive travel, returning to Athens some years later. In 387 BCE he established the Academy, a school devoted to philosophical debate and learning. Aristotle was a student at the Academy for about the last twenty years of Plato’s life. At the heart of all Plato’s philosophy is his Theory of Forms, sometimes called the Theory of Ideas. Plato…show more content…
They know of nothing else and assume that there can never be anything beyond the shadows. The world of sense is at a constant change, so how can the truth be known if the world never stays the same from one moment to the next. Plato believed there was a certain truth, but this material world cannot answer it. The material world only presents appearances, which lead us to make opinions, not knowledge. Plato believes there is truth on a different plane, on the non-material world of forms. He alleged that in order for something to be real, it had to be permanent and unchanging. In order to see exactly what a form is and how it differs from a material object, we need to look at the first two of the properties that characterize the forms. The forms are transcendent. This means that they do not exist in space and time. A material object, a basketball, exists at a particular place at a particular time. A form, roundness, does not exist at any place or time. The forms exist, or subsist, in a different way. This is especially important because it explains why the forms are unchanging. A form such as roundness will never change; it does not even exist in time. It is the same at all times or places in which it might be instantiated. A form does not exist in space in that it can be instantiated
Open Document